Try the modernized beta website. Learn more about the modernization effort.
Working… Menu

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Replacement for Treatment in Spinocerebellar Ataxia 38 (SCA38DHA)

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. Identifier: NCT03109626
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 12, 2017
Last Update Posted : December 31, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Barbara Borroni, Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale degli Spedali Civili di Brescia

Brief Summary:

The project will study a therapeutic approach in Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA38) by DHA replacement. SCA38 is caused by missense mutations in the ELOVL5 (Elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein 5) gene.

Background/Rationale: ELOVL5 is a microsomal fatty acid elongase gene required for the synthesis of arachidonic acid and DHA. In brain, it shows a peculiar high expression in cerebellar Purkinje cells.

The ELOVL5 products, such as DHA, are decreased in SCA38 patients serum and DHA administered as a dietary supplement has been shown to improve SARA scores, to ameliorate quality of life, and to increase brain cerebellar hypometabolism (FDG-PET) in two SCA38 patients.

Experimental Plan: The investigators will perform a randomized placebo-controlled trial by DHA supplementation on ten SCA38 patients, followed by an open-label phase.

Expected results: DHA supplementation should be able to improve symptoms in SCA38 and to improve cerebellar hypometabolism in these patients.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
SCA38 Dietary Supplement: DHA Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) include over thirty different subtypes of central nervous system diseases that affect approximately 1 in 30,000 persons. The investigators have identified the causative gene for SCA38, a novel rare form of cerebellar ataxia. Estimated frequency of the disease is below 1% of SCAs. The disease gene encodes an enzyme involved in omega-3 fatty acid biosynthesis, whose products are reduced in SCA38 patients' serum.

The investigators reasoned that the administration of specific omega-3 fatty acids could ameliorate the disease symptoms in SCA38 patients. Indeed, preliminary data obtained in a pilot trial on two patients, now in their 8th-month therapy, are remarkable, with an improvement of disease symptoms and quality of life, without any adverse effect.

The investigators will perform a clinical trial to prove this therapeutic strategy of SCA38. The investigators will evaluate clinical SARA scores, ICARS scores, brain PET images, and plasma metabolic pattern in ten SCA38 patients.

The trial will consist of two phases: 1) a randomized double-blind placebo/treatment (600 mg DHA/day) from T0 (baseline observation) to T1 (evaluation at four-month). Patients who will meet the study eligibility criteria will be randomized to receive the drug or the placebo (ratio 1:1). A second open-label phase on all patients from T2 (6 months) to T5 (30 months) will be performed with repeated measures of the medication group (n=10).

Patients will complete a personal diary during the whole treatment and a quality of life questionnaire at each visit. The primary outcome will be the clinical improvement, whilst secondary outcome will be considered the improvement of brain metabolism by PET-FDG.

At each time point, clinical evaluation (video-record of SARA/ICARS scores) will be performed. Videos will be randomized and evaluated blindly by two independently clinicians.

At T0, T1, T2, T5, patients will undergo brain PET-FDG scan. PET-FDG scans will be performed by the same scanner at the University of Brescia.

This project will provide helpful data on possible replacement treatment in this novel form of cerebellar degeneration.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 10 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: double-blind randomised placebo-controlled phase, followed by an open-label phase
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Translating Molecular Pathology Into a Therapeutic Strategy in SCA38, a Newly Identified Form of Spinocerebellar Ataxia
Actual Study Start Date : June 17, 2015
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 17, 2015
Actual Study Completion Date : June 25, 2018

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: DHA administration
DHA 600 mg/day will be administered for 16 weeks to 5 patients in double blind
Dietary Supplement: DHA
Placebo Comparator: placebo administration
placebo will be made with the same colour and taste, in softgel as DHA, and will be administered for 16 weeks to 5 patients in double blind.
Dietary Supplement: DHA

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change from Baseline SARA score at 16 weeks and 40 weeks [ Time Frame: baseline, 16 weeks, 40 weeks ]
    improvement of ataxia by SARA scores

  2. Change from Baseline ICARS score at 16 weeks and 40 weeks [ Time Frame: baseline, 16 weeks, 40 weeks ]
    improvement of ataxia by ICARS scores

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Brain FDG-PET [ Time Frame: baseline, 16 weeks, 40 weeks ]
    improvement of cerebellar hypometabolism

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Mutations p.Gly230Val in ELOVL5 gene
  • Clinical symptoms of ataxia

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Use of fish oil or DHA dietary supplement within 30 days prior the enrollment in the present trial
  • Evidence of poorly controlled diabetes (defined as hemoglobin A1c > 8% in patients with diabetes)
  • Average alcohol consumption of more than one drink or equivalent (>12 g) per day or more than two drinks on any 1 day over the 30 days prior to screening.
  • Serum creatinine level 2.0 mg/dL or greater or currently on dialysis
  • Evidence of drug abuse within 6 months prior to entering the study or during the screening period
  • Reported poor compliance to drug assumption
  • Bedridden patients (SARA score >23)

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 identifier (NCT number): NCT03109626

Layout table for location information
AO Spedali Civili
Brescia, BS, Italy, 25100
Sponsors and Collaborators
Barbara Borroni
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Barbara Borroni, MD AO Spedali Civili
Additional Information:
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: Barbara Borroni, Associated Professor of Neurology, MD, Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale degli Spedali Civili di Brescia Identifier: NCT03109626    
Other Study ID Numbers: CE NP1821
First Posted: April 12, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 31, 2018
Last Verified: December 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Plan Description: to share data after study publication

Layout table for additional information
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Barbara Borroni, Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale degli Spedali Civili di Brescia:
DHA, replacement, treatment, brain PET-FDG, ataxia
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Spinocerebellar Ataxias
Spinocerebellar Degenerations
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Cerebellar Ataxia
Cerebellar Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Spinal Cord Diseases
Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn