Dr. Urano’s August update

Fumihiko “Fumi” Urano, MD

Dr. Fumihiko “Fumi” Urano, MD

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful summer season. I would like to update you about our progress.

Our clinical trial of dantrolene sodium in patients with Wolfram syndrome is ongoing. We have been monitoring the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the drug. Some patients have been taking dantrolene sodium for more than 6 months, and we have started getting the safety, tolerability, and efficacy data. We plan to publish the data once we collect the information from 20 patients. I have started preparing for the next phase of this trial. As I mentioned in my previous blog, we are considering the following possibilities.

  1. A longer duration, More participants, Multi-center
  2. Include the placebo arm. I understand that nobody wants to take the dummy drug for a long period of time. So I have been getting advice from medical officers conducting clinical trials for rare diseases.

In addition to dantrolene sodium, my team has been looking into two new drugs for Wolfram. Unlike dantrolene sodium, these drugs are new. So we need to carefully collect more data from mouse models of Wolfram and healthy human subjects.

  1. The first drug is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium stabilizers which we discovered together with NIH/NCATS. This drug is for delaying/halting the progression of the disease. Pre-clinical studies in mouse models of Wolfram are ongoing.
  2. The second drug is a chemical chaperone which reduces ER stress. We have started collaboration with a biotech company on this new drug.

I am aware that we need to find a way to improve visual acuity. I am trying to secure funds for testing our new regenerative gene therapies for optic nerve degeneration using a novel neurotrophic factor in combination with gene transfer technology. I have applied for multiple grants and am quite hopeful about the outcome.

Thank you for your continued support. I cannot thank you enough.

Take care,

Fumi Urano, MD