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L-Serine Supplementation in Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy Type 1

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01733407
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 27, 2012
Results First Posted : September 12, 2018
Last Update Posted : September 12, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Florian Eichler, Massachusetts General Hospital

Brief Summary:

In hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 1 (HSAN1) the investigators recently discovered the accumulation of two neurotoxic sphingolipids. It appears that these lipids arise as the mutant enzyme has a reduced affinity for its normal preferred substrate L-serine. The investigators now plan to perform a two year study of L-serine supplementation to correct the biochemistry and neurological disease in humans with HSAN1. In the course the investigators will also establish correlations between an existing neurological rating scale of sensory neuropathy and intraepidermal nerve fiber density.

Funding Source - FDA OOPD

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy Type I Drug: L-serine Drug: placebo Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

The study objective is to evaluate the efficacy of L-serine in subjects with hereditary sensory neuropathy type 1 (HSAN1). Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type I (HSAN1) is a progressive and debilitating illness for which currently no treatment exists. The investigators recently identified two novel deoxysphingoid bases (DSB) that accumulate in plasma of HSAN1 patients and mutant transgenic HSAN1 mice. The disease is caused by missense mutations in the SPTLC1 gene encoding a subunit of the enzyme serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT). In normal circumstances the SPT enzyme catalyzes the reaction of palmitoyl-CoA with serine to form sphinganine. The two newly identified DSB, deoxysphinganine and deoxymethylsphinganine, arise from condensation of palmitoyl-CoA with alanine and glycine respectively, suggesting that HSAN1 mutations alter amino acid selectivity of SPT. In support of this hypothesis the investigators have shown that levels of DSB in humans and mice can be lowered by supplementation with the enzyme's normal substrate, serine.

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross over study the investigators will enroll 20 research participants with HSAN1 with 10 subjects assigned to L-serine (400mg/kg/d) and 10 assigned to placebo who are each treated for 12 months. The 10 subjects assigned to placebo will then be crossed over to active L-serine for the remaining 12 months. The progression of HSAN1 will be measured by the change in an established clinical rating scale and measures of intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) on skin biopsy. L-serine levels will be measured using 24-hour pharmacokinetic blood sample at 12-month intervals. The investigators will assess the percentage of failures (clinical decline of > 1 point on CMTNS or > 30% decrease in IENFD) at 6 month intervals. Regardless of CMTNS score, all subjects who are on placebo for the first year will be switched to active study drug in year two.

After the 2 year period subjects will be given the option of being re-consented for the open label extension. All consented subjects will then be treated with L-serine (400 mg/kg/d) for an additional year.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 18 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy of L-Serine in Subjects With Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy Type 1
Study Start Date : September 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : July 2017

Arm Intervention/treatment
Placebo Comparator: Sugar pill
Placebo arm
Drug: placebo
400mg/kg/d divided TID for year 1 only.
Other Name: sugar pill

Active Comparator: L-serine
amino acid supplementation with L-serine
Drug: L-serine
400mg/kg/d L-serine or placebo divided TID for year 1, then crossover of placebo arm so that all patients on 400mg/kg/d L-serine divided TID for year 2.
Other Name: amino acid supplementation with L-serine

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Charcot Marie Tooth Neuropathy Score [ Time Frame: 48 Weeks ]
    The Charcot Marie Tooth Neuropathy Score (CMTNS) is a 0 to 36 point composite scoring assessment that is used to measure disease severity in Charcot Marie Tooth Neuropathy and other sensory and motor neuropathies. The CMTNS is composed of 9 items that evaluate functions related to disease progression. These 9 parameters include reviewing sensory symptoms, motor symptoms (arms and legs), pinprick sensibility, vibration, leg strength, arm strength, and nerve conduction tests. Each item is scored from 0 to 4, with the lower scores representing less severe symptoms and higher scores representing more severe symptoms.The 9 individual item scores are then totaled to provide a global measure of disease severity. For example the lowest possible total score is 0 which represents an asymptomatic individual and the highest score possible is a 36 which represents an individual with severe disease progression. There are sub scores that can be assessed but sub scores were not utilized in this study

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Intraepidermal Nerve Fiber Density (IENFD) [ Time Frame: 48 Weeks ]
    Counts of nerve fibers per unit area in skin biopsies

  2. Autonomic Function Testing (AFT) Composite Autonomic Severity Score (CASS) [ Time Frame: 48 Weeks ]
    Autonomic Function Testing (AFT) tests the effectiveness of your autonomic nervous system which regulates important functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. AFT results are quantified using the composite autonomic severity score scale (CASS) which is a scale from 0 to 10 that is the sum of three sub scores (cardiovagal, adrenergic, and sudomotor). Cardiovagal is scored from 0 to 3, sudomotor is scored from 0 to 3, and adrenergic is scored from 0 to 4. The tests include deep breathing, Valsalva maneuver, head-up tilt, and a sweat test. The three subscores are then summed. This total represents the CASS which classifies autonomic function as normal functioning (total score 0), mild (total score 1-3), moderate (total score 4-6), or severe (total score 7-10).

  3. Nerve Conduction Testing [ Time Frame: 48 Weeks ]
    Evaluates the functioning of electrical conduction of the motor and sensory nerves of the human body.

  4. 1-deoxy-sphinganine [ Time Frame: 48 Weeks ]
    Plasma levels of the deoxysphingoid lipid 1-deoxy-sphinganine measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry after hydrolyzing the N-acyl and O-linked headgroups

  5. 1-deoxy-sphingosine [ Time Frame: 48 weeks ]
    Plasma levels of the deoxysphingoid lipid 1-deoxy-sphingosine measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry after hydrolyzing the N-acyl and O-linked headgroups

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • HSAN1 patients with prominent sensory loss with foot ulcers or shooting pains and con-firmed mutations in SPTLC1.
  • Males and females of 18 years or older
  • All patients will be able to provide informed consent and comply with oral dietary supple-mentation and study activities. Compliance with supplementation will be monitored through measurement of DSB levels.
  • Subjects must not have taken L-serine for at least 30 days prior to randomization (L-serine-naïve subjects are permitted in the study).
  • Women must not become pregnant for the duration of the study and must be willing to use two contraceptive therapies and have a negative pregnancy test throughout the course of the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Any cause of neuropathy other than HSAN1 (such as diabetes or drug-induced neuropathy), medical history of kidney stones, or history of poliomyelitis or radiotherapy.
  • Pregnant women, breastfeeding, or not using adequate contraception; for women included, an accepted method of contraception will be used throughout the study.
  • Active drug or alcohol use or dependence that, in the opinion of the site investigator, would interfere with adherence to study requirements.
  • Patients on blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin will not be biopsied until they have held the medication for 5 days. Following the biopsy they will resume the maintenance dose of their medication.
  • Serious illness (requiring systemic treatment and/or hospitalization) until subject either completes therapy or is clinically stable on therapy, in the opinion of the site investigator, for at least 10 days prior to study entry.
  • The presence of unstable psychiatric disease, cognitive impairment, or dementia that would impair ability of the subject to provide informed consent, according to PI judgment, or a history of active substance abuse within the prior year.
  • Subjects who are non-ambulatory.
  • Subjects with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Patients who are unable or unwilling to give consent will not be enrolled in the study.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01733407

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United States, Massachusetts
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
UMass Medical Center
Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, 01605
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
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Principal Investigator: Florian S Eichler, MD Massachusetts General Hospital
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Florian Eichler, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01733407    
Other Study ID Numbers: FD-R-04127-01
First Posted: November 27, 2012    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: September 12, 2018
Last Update Posted: September 12, 2018
Last Verified: August 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Keywords provided by Florian Eichler, Massachusetts General Hospital:
inherited neuropathies
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies
Neuromuscular Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Malformations
Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Congenital Abnormalities
Genetic Diseases, Inborn