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PCSK9 Inhibition in Patients With Symptomatic Intracranial Atherosclerosis (PINNACLE)

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: NCT03507374
Recruitment Status : Terminated (Funding withdrawn)
First Posted : April 25, 2018
Last Update Posted : April 21, 2020
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Adam de Havenon, University of Utah

Brief Summary:
This will be a randomized double blind placebo-controlled pilot study using a repeated measures design in which participants with acute ischemic stroke and intracranial atherosclerotic disease are randomized to either drug or placebo.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Stroke Intracranial Atherosclerosis Intraplaque Hemorrhage Drug: Alirocumab Drug: Placebo Early Phase 1

Detailed Description:
The purpose of this study will be a dataset that lays the foundation for a randomized controlled trial of PCSK9 inhibition in intracranial atherosclerotic disease (ICAD) patients, designed to show a reduction in the primary endpoint of ischemic stroke recurrence. Such a trial would provide evidence for the utility of alirocumab to prevent recurrent stroke in ICAD. While we are proposing future studies to reduce recurrent ICAD stroke risk, it should be noted that, in the long term, our research may lead to effective primary ICAD stroke risk reduction through PCSK9 inhibition in patients at high risk of stroke identified through asymptomatic stenosis, post-contrast plaque enhancement (PPE) or intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) on vwMRI.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 20 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: PCSK9 Inhibition in Patients With Symptomatic Intracranial Atherosclerosis
Actual Study Start Date : October 30, 2018
Actual Primary Completion Date : April 17, 2020
Actual Study Completion Date : April 17, 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Atherosclerosis
Drug Information available for: Alirocumab

Arm Intervention/treatment
Placebo Comparator: Placebo Comparator
After review of eligibility criteria, 20 patients will be randomized to the placebo arm of the study where patient will administer one subcutaneous injection of placebo every two weeks for a total of 52 weeks. Additionally, per standard-of-care, patient will also be treated with atorvastatin 40-80 mg.
Drug: Placebo
Placebo to be administered subcutaneously every 2 weeks identical to active drug (alirocumab)

Active Comparator: Active Comparator
After review of eligibility criteria, 20 patients will be randomized to receive the investigational treatment of alirocumab 150mg which will be administered subcutaneously with a single-dose pre-filled pen syringe every 2 weeks for a total of 52 weeks. Additionally, per standard-of-care, patient will also be treated with atorvastatin 40-80 mg
Drug: Alirocumab
Alirocumab is approved by the FDA as a secondary treatment for high cholesterol for adults whose cholesterol can not be controlled by diet and/or statin treatment. Additionally, Alirocumab works to inhibit the PCSK9 protein.
Other Name: Praluent

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Vessel Wall MRI [ Time Frame: Day 1 and Day 365 ]
    Our primary outcome measures will be to assess the Vessel Wall MRI on Day 365 and compare it to day 1.The primary endpoint is nominal change in the composite percent atheroma volume (PAV) of the stroke parent artery and additional intra- or extracranial cerebrovasculature arteries with atherosclerosis (≥ 25% stenosis) from baseline to week 52. We will use measure PAV on vessel wall MRI (vwMRI), which evaluates all arteries from the aortic arch to the distal intracranial vasculature in a single scan. The primary endpoint will be analyzed for both: 1) the composite PAV of the stroke parent artery and any additional intra- or extracranial arteries that have at least 25% stenosis, and 2) separately for the PAV of the stroke parent artery. The PAV measurements will be performed using the validated MRI-PlaqueView software. Stenosis of the stroke parent artery and all additional arteries included in the composite PAV will be measured using standard methodology and also be evaluated as

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Post-Contrast Plaque Enhancement [ Time Frame: Day 1 ]
    Secondary endpoint 1 is post-contrast plaque enhancement for intracranial arteries and intraplaque hemorrhage for the carotid artery, which are determined by two experienced neuroradiologist raters. If there is disagreement, then a third rater serves as a tie-breaker. The signal intensity characteristics of both endpoints have been standardized in prior literature.

Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Mechanism of Alirocumab's effect [ Time Frame: Day 1 and Day 365 ]
    To better understand the mechanism of alirocumab's effect on intra- and extracranial atherosclerosis, we will measure the endpoint of change in cholesterol markers [LDL-C, HDL-C, lipoprotein (a), apolipoprotein B, and triglyceride level]. The change in cholesterol markers will be correlated with the primary and secondary study endpoints on vwMRI. Cholesterol values will be measured at the baseline and comparison MRIs, which are 52 weeks apart. An additional exploratory outcome that we will measure is the composite endpoint of "recurrent stroke," which encompasses new symptomatic ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, or asymptomatic strokes that emerge between the study MRIs.

  2. Lab Assessment [ Time Frame: Baseline visit and Day 365 ]
    At both study MRIs, the study coordinator will collect two blood samples. One sample will be tested with an i-STAT for beta hCG and creatinine levels prior to the MRI. The second sample which will be sent to ARUP Laboratories for testing of LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B, and lipoprotein (a), biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk.

  3. Clinical Outcomes [ Time Frame: Baseline and Day 365 ]
    b) At both study visits (baseline vwMRI and follow-up vwMRI), a vascular neurologist blinded to treatment arm assignment will assess patients and their medical records for recurrent stroke. The neurologist will also have access to the "stroke characteristics" data from the neuroradiologist raters. The endpoint of recurrent stroke is defined both for the stroke parent artery and other arterial distributions in the cerebrovasculature.

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:

  • Adult patients, ≥ 18 years of age
  • Ischemic stroke (≤ 1 month from onset) in one major vascular territory on diffusion-weighted MRI
  • ICAD plaque of a "major intracranial artery," causing >25% and <99% stenosis
  • Eligible arteries: vertebral (V4), basilar, PCA (P1, P2), MCA (M1, M2), terminal ICA, and ACA (A1)
  • Able to tolerate high-dose statin (atorvastatin 40-80 mg)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Stroke mechanism other than ICAD, including history of atrial fibrillation, hypercoagulability, ipsilateral arterial dissection or carotid stenosis >50%, and rare causes of stroke such as vasculitis or CADASIL
  • Bihemispheric stroke or simultaneous stroke in the anterior and posterior circulation
  • Positive pregnancy test
  • Gadolinium or PCSK9 inhibitor allergy
  • Acute or chronic kidney disease with eGFR<30 ml/min/1.73m2
  • Pacemaker or other MRI contraindications per American College of Radiology guidelines33
  • Inability to return for 1-year follow-up clinic visit and vwMRI

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): NCT03507374

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United States, Utah
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, 84132
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Utah
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
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Principal Investigator: Adam de Havenon, MD University of Utah
Principal Investigator: Scott McNally, MD, PhD University of Utah
Brott TG, Halperin JL, Abbara S, Bacharach JM, Barr JD, Bush RL, Cates CU, Creager MA, Fowler SB, Friday G, Hertzberg VS, McIff EB, Moore WS, Panagos PD, Riles TS, Rosenwasser RH, Taylor AJ. 2011 ASA/ACCF/AHA/AANN/AANS/ACR/ASNR/CNS/SAIP/SCAI/SIR/SNIS/SVM/SVS Guideline on the Management of Patients With Extracranial Carotid and Vertebral Artery DiseaseA Report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, and the American Stroke Association, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Radiology, American Society of Neuroradiology, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Society of Atherosclerosis Imaging and Prevention, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Society for Vascular Medicine, and Society for Vascular Surgery Developed in Collaboration With the American Academy of Neurology and Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Feb 22;57(8):e16-e94.
de Havenon A, Chauhan N, Majersik J, Parker D, McNally. Determinants of Intracranial Atherosclerotic Enhancement on Vessel Wall MRI in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke. Houston, TX; 2017 [cited 2017 Feb 13]. Available from:!/4172/presentation/9649
de Havenon A, Chauhan N, Kim S, Hadley J, Parker D, Majersik J, McNally S. Determinants of Symptomatic Intracranial Atherosclerotic Plaque Enhancement on 3D DANTE T1-SPACE Vessel Wall MRI and Relationship to Recurrent Stroke or TIA. Honolulu, HI; 2017.
Diagnostic Radiology: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Practice Parameters and Technical Standards - American College of Radiology [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jan 30]. Available from:
de Havenon, A, Chung L, Park, M, Mossa-Basha, M. Intracranial vessel wall MRI: a review of current indications and future applications. Neurovascular Imaging. 2016;2(10).
Stroke Standards - NINDS Common Data Elements [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jan 3]. Available from:
SNOMED Clinical Terms® (SNOMED CT®) [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jan 3]. Available from:

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Responsible Party: Adam de Havenon, MD, University of Utah Identifier: NCT03507374    
Other Study ID Numbers: 00104839
First Posted: April 25, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 21, 2020
Last Verified: April 2020
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: Yes
Keywords provided by Adam de Havenon, University of Utah:
Intracranial Atherosclerosis
Intraplaque Hemorrhage
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Intracranial Arteriosclerosis
Cerebrovascular Disorders
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Pathologic Processes
Arterial Occlusive Diseases
Intracranial Arterial Diseases