Proposed BioRepository platform solution for the ALS research community.

Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Impact Factor: 3.4). 01/2011; 12(1):11-6. DOI: 10.3109/17482968.2010.539233
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT ALS is a rare disorder whose cause and pathogenesis is largely unknown ( 1 ). There is a recognized need to develop biomarkers for ALS to better understand the disease, expedite diagnosis and to facilitate therapy development. Collaboration is essential to obtain a sufficient number of samples to allow statistically meaningful studies. The availability of high quality biological specimens for research purposes requires the development of standardized methods for collection, long-term storage, retrieval and distribution of specimens. The value of biological samples to scientists and clinicians correlates with the completeness and relevance of phenotypical and clinical information associated with the samples ( 2 , 3 ). While developing a secure Web-based system to manage an inventory of multi-site BioRepositories, algorithms were implemented to facilitate ad hoc parametric searches across heterogeneous data sources that contain data from clinical trials and research studies. A flexible schema for a barcode label was introduced to allow association of samples to these data. The ALSBank™ BioRepository platform solution for managing biological samples and associated data is currently deployed by the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS). The NEALS Consortium and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Neurology Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU) support a network of multiple BioBanks, thus allowing researchers to take advantage of a larger specimen collection than they might have at an individual institution. Standard operating procedures are utilized at all collection sites to promote common practices for biological sample integrity, quality control and associated clinical data. Utilizing this platform, we have created one of the largest virtual collections of ALS-related specimens available to investigators studying ALS.

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    ABSTRACT: This review article is focused on strategies that may enhance clinical trial efficiency in neurodegenerative disorders, as demonstrated within the research field of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Unravelling ALS pathophysiology will result in an increased number of candidate therapeutics. Recent ALS clinical trials have employed novel study designs that expedite the drug development process and limit sample size, including futility, lead-in, selection, adaptive and sequential designs. The search for sensitive and specific biomarkers in ALS continues to develop, and they are essential in accelerating the drug discovery process. Several candidate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), neuroimaging and electrophysiological biomarkers have been recently described in ALS, and some have been successfully employed as secondary outcome measures in clinical trials. The advent of web-based technologies has provided a complementary platform to expedite clinical trials, through electronic data capture, teleconferencing and online registries. In addition, the formation of ALS consortia has enhanced collaborative multicentre studies. ALS research studies have employed novel strategies to accelerate the efficiency and pace of drug discovery. The importance of adapting to novel measures that enhance study efficiency is not unique to ALS and can be applied to other neurodegenerative diseases in search of effective treatments.
    Current opinion in neurology 12/2012; 25(6):735-42. DOI:10.1097/WCO.0b013e32835a309d · 5.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical trial networks, shared clinical databases, and human biospecimen repositories are examples of infrastructure resources aimed at enhancing and expediting clinical and/or patient oriented research to uncover the etiology and pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to the paralysis of voluntary muscles. The current status of such infrastructure resources, as well as opportunities and impediments, were discussed at the second Tarrytown ALS meeting held in September 2011. The discussion focused on resources developed and maintained by ALS clinics and centers in North America and Europe, various clinical trial networks, U.S. government federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several voluntary disease organizations that support ALS research activities. Key recommendations included 1) the establishment of shared databases among individual ALS clinics to enhance the coordination of resources and data analyses; 2) the expansion of quality-controlled human biospecimen banks; and 3) the adoption of uniform data standards, such as the recently developed Common Data Elements (CDEs) for ALS clinical research. The value of clinical trial networks such as the Northeast ALS (NEALS) Consortium and the Western ALS (WALS) Consortium was recognized, and strategies to further enhance and complement these networks and their research resources were discussed.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 05/2013; 14(S1). DOI:10.3109/21678421.2013.779058 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigated predictors of trial start-up times, high attrition, and poor protocol adherence in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) trials. Retrospective analysis of start-up times, retention, and protocol adherence was performed on 5 clinical studies conducted by the Northeast ALS Consortium and 50 ALS clinical trials identified by PubMed search. Predictors of start-up times were estimated by accelerated failure time models with random effects. Predictors of retention and protocol deviations were estimated by mixed-model logistic regression. Median times for contract execution and institutional review board (IRB) approval were 105 days and 125 days, respectively. Contract execution was faster at sites with more ongoing trials (p = 0.005), and more full-time (p = 0.006) and experienced (p < 0.001) coordinators. IRB approval was faster at sites with more ongoing trials (p = 0.010) and larger ALS clinics (p = 0.038). Site activation after IRB approval was faster at sites with more full-time (p = 0.038) and experienced (p < 0.001) coordinators. Twenty-two percent of surviving participants withdrew before completing the trial. Better participant functional score at baseline was an independent predictor of trial completion (odds ratio 1.29, p = 0.002) and fewer protocol deviations (odds ratio 0.86, p = 0.030). Delays in IRB review contribute the most to prolonged trial start-up times, and these timelines are faster in sites with more experienced staff. Strategies to improve protocol adherence and participants' retention may include enrolling people at early disease stages.
    Neurology 09/2013; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a823e0 · 8.30 Impact Factor


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Jun 1, 2014