Founder populations have long contributed to our knowledge of rare disease genes and phenotypes. From the pioneering work of Dr. Victor McKusick to today, research in these groups has shed light on rare recessive phenotypes, expanded the clinical spectrum of disease, and facilitated disease gene identification. Current clinical and research studies in these special groups augment the wealth of knowledge already gained, provide new insights into emerging problems such as variant interpretation and reduced penetrance, and contribute to the development of novel therapies for rare genetic diseases. Clinical developments over the past 30 years have altered the fundamental relationship with the Lancaster Plain communities: research has become more collaborative, and the knowledge imparted by these studies is now being harnessed to provide cutting-edge translational medicine to the very community of vulnerable individuals who need it most.
- Cardiac System
- Clinical Case Report
- Diagnostic Development
- Disease Discovery
- Endocrine System
- Genomic Testing
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- Natural History
- Neurologic System
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- Population Genetics
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The primary goal of our research will always be to find effective and affordable treatments for patients. Over the years, we have shared our methods and discoveries with the broader scientific community.
In the over 30 years since the Clinic's founding, our staff have published more than 120 peer-reviewed research papers, fueled by close collaboration between our clinical and laboratory teams and effective relationships with academic, scientific, and clinical partners.
Authors: Vincent J. Carson MD, Millie Young RNC, Karlla W. Brigatti MS, CGC, Donna L. Robinson, CRNP, Robert M. Reed MD, Jihee Sohn PhD, Marco Petrillo PhD, Wildon Farwell MD, PhD, Freeman Miller MD, Kevin A. Strauss MD
Introduction/Aims: Intrathecal administration of nusinersen is challenging in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) who have spine deformities or fusions. We prospectively studied the safety and efficacy of nusinersen administration via an indwelling subcutaneous intrathecal catheter (SIC) for SMA patients with advanced disease.
Methods: Seventeen participants commenced nusinersen therapy between 2.7 and 31.5 years of age and received 9 to 12 doses via SIC. Safety was assessed in all participants. A separate efficacy analysis comprised 11 nonambulatory, treatment-naive SMA patients (18.1 ± 6.8 years) with three SMN2 copies and complex spine anatomy.
Results: In the safety analysis, 14 treatment-related adverse events (AEs) occurred among 12 (71%) participants; all were related to the SIC and not nusinersen. Device- related AEs interfered with 2.5% of nusinersen doses. Four SICs (24%) required surgical revision due to mechanical malfunction with or without cerebrospinal fluid leak (n = 2), and one (6%) was removed due to Staphylococcus epidermidis meningitis. In the efficacy analysis, mean performance on the nine-hole peg test improved in domi-
nant (15.9%, P = 0.012) and nondominant (19.0%, P = 0.008) hands and grip strength increased by 44.9% (P = 0.031). We observed no significant changes in motor scales, muscle force, pulmonary function, or SMA biomarkers. All participants in the efficacy cohort reported one or more subjective improvement(s) in endurance, purposeful hand use, arm strength, head control, and/or speech.
Discussion: For SMA patients with complex spine anatomy, the SIC allows for reliable outpatient administration of nusinersen that results in meaningful improvements in upper limb function, but introduces risks of technical malfunction and iatrogenic infection.
Authors: Caroline B Ewing, Kyle A Soltys, Kevin A Strauss, Rakesh Sindhi, Jerry Vockley, Patrick McKiernan, Robert H Squires, Geoffrey Bond, Armando Ganoza, Ajai Khanna, George V Mazariegos, James E Squires
To assess outcomes following liver transplantation for maple syrup urine disease by determining attainment and sustainability of metabolic control and apply an “ideal” outcome composite in long-term survivors.
Authors: John W. Day, Jerry R Mendell, Eugenio Mercuri, Richard S Finkel, Kevin A. Strauss, Aaron Kleyn, Sitra Tauscher-Wisniewski, Francis Fonyuy Tukov, Sandra P Reyna, Deepa H Chand
This is the first description of safety data for intravenous onasemnogene abeparvovec, the only approved systemically administered gene-replacement therapy for spinal muscular atrophy.
Authors: Muhammad A Usmani, Zubair M Ahmed, Magini Pamela, Victor Murcia Pienkowski, Kristen J Rasmussen, Rebecca Hernan, Faiza Rasheed, Mureed Hussain, Mohsin Shahzad, Brendan C Lanpher, Zhiyv Niu, Foong-Yen Lim, Tommaso Pippucci, Rafal Ploski, Verena Kraus, Karolina Matuszewska, Flavia Palombo, Jessica Kianmahd, UCLA Clinical Genomics Center; Julian A Martinez-Agosto, Hane Lee, Emma Colao, M Mahdi Motazacker, Karlla W Brigatti, Erik G Puffenberger, S Amer Riazuddin, Claudia Gonzaga-Jauregui, Wendy K Chung, Matias Wagner, Matthew J Schultz, Marco Seri, Anneke J A Kievit, Nicola Perrotti, J S Klein Wassink-Ruiter, Hans van Bokhoven, Sheikh Riazuddin, Saima Riazuddin
Adaptor protein (AP) complexes mediate selective intracellular vesicular trafficking and polarized localization of somatodendritic proteins in neurons. Disease-causing alleles of various subunits of AP complexes have been implicated in several heritable human disorders, including intellectual disabilities (IDs). Here, we report two bi-allelic (c.737C>A [p.Pro246His] and c.1105A>G [p.Met369Val]) and eight de novo heterozygous variants (c.44G>A [p.Arg15Gln], c.103C>T [p.Arg35Trp], c.104G>A [p.Arg35Gln], c.229delC [p.Gln77Lys∗11], c.399_400del [p.Glu133Aspfs∗37], c.747G>T [p.Gln249His], c.928-2A>C [p.?], and c.2459C>G [p.Pro820Arg]) in AP1G1, encoding gamma-1 subunit of adaptor-related protein complex 1 (AP1γ1), associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) characterized by mild to severe ID, epilepsy, and developmental delay in eleven families from different ethnicities. The AP1γ1-mediated adaptor complex is essential for the formation of clathrin-coated intracellular vesicles. In silico analysis and 3D protein modeling simulation predicted alteration of AP1γ1 protein folding for missense variants, which was consistent with the observed altered AP1γ1 levels in heterologous cells. Functional studies of the recessively inherited missense variants revealed no apparent impact on the interaction of AP1γ1 with other subunits of the AP-1 complex but rather showed to affect the endosome recycling pathway. Knocking out ap1g1 in zebrafish leads to severe morphological defect and lethality, which was significantly rescued by injection of wild-type AP1G1 mRNA and not by transcripts encoding the missense variants. Furthermore, microinjection of mRNAs with de novo missense variants in wild-type zebrafish resulted in severe developmental abnormalities and increased lethality. We conclude that de novo and bi-allelic variants in AP1G1 are associated with neurodevelopmental disorder in diverse populations.
Authors: Huiya Yang, Robert H Brown Jr, Dan Wang, Kevin A Strauss, Guangping Gao
De novo glycosphingolipid (GSL) biosynthesis defects cause severe neurological diseases, including hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 1A (HSAN1A), GM3 synthase deficiency, and hereditary spastic paraplegia type 26 (HSPG26), each lacking effective treatment. Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene therapy has emerged as a powerful treatment for monogenic diseases and might be particularly suitable for these neurological conditions.
Authors: Torsten Joerger, Salwa Sulieman, Vincent J Carson, Michael D Fox
Authors: Tova Hershkovitz, Alina Kurolap, Galit Tal, Tamar Paperna, Adi Mory, Jeffery Staples, Karlla W. Brigatti, Regeneron Genetics Center; Claudia Gonzaga-Jauregui, Elena Dumin, Ann Saada, Hanna Mandel, Hagit Baris Feldman
Iron‑sulfur clusters (FeSCs) are vital components of a variety of essential proteins, most prominently within mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes I-III; Fe-S assembly and distribution is performed via multi-step pathways. Variants affecting several proteins in these pathways have been described in genetic disorders, including severe mitochondrial disease. Here we describe a Christian Arab kindred with two infants that died due to mitochondrial disorder involving Fe-S containing respiratory chain complexes and a third sibling who survived the initial crisis. A homozygous missense variant in NFS1: c.215G>A; p.Arg72Gln was detected by whole exome sequencing. The NFS1 gene encodes a cysteine desulfurase, which, in complex with ISD11 and ACP, initiates the first step of Fe-S formation. Arginine at position 72 plays a role in NFS1-ISD11 complex formation; therefore, its substitution with glutamine is expected to affect complex stability and function. Interestingly, this is the only pathogenic variant ever reported in the NFS1 gene, previously described once in an Old Order Mennonite family presenting a similar phenotype with intra-familial variability in patient outcomes. Analysis of datasets from both populations did not show a common haplotype, suggesting this variant is a recurrent de novo variant. Our report of the second case of NFS1-related mitochondrial disease corroborates the pathogenicity of this recurring variant and implicates it as a hot-spot variant. While the genetic resolution allows for prenatal diagnosis for the family, it also raises critical clinical questions regarding follow-up and possible treatment options of severely affected and healthy homozygous individuals with mitochondrial co-factor therapy or cysteine supplementation.
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Our clinic serves as a trusted medical home for families working to prevent and treat genetic illness in their children. Serving predominantly Amish and Mennonite families, the sturdy, timber-framed building was "raised" by the hands of those in the Anabaptist community outside of Strasburg, PA. Inside the clinic is filled with an array of high-tech gene sequencing that allows us to deliver state of the art care in a nurturing environment.