The SIGNAL study was carried out by a company called Vaccinex to test whether their drug, pepinemab, could combat brain inflammation and ease symptoms for HD patients. More than 300 courageous participants who carry the HD gene had monthly IV injections of the drug or a placebo for up to a year. They continued to be monitored monthly for safety, health, and changes in symptoms for up to 3 years in total.
Key results were announced on September 22nd . For those HD patients who received pepinemab during the trial, there were some statistical trends towards improvement on tasks involving thinking and planning. However, these statistics didn’t reach significance, meaning that the drug was unfortunately not effective for treating HD symptoms.
Although some sources are reporting the trial as a “failure,” the SIGNAL study did NOT fail to provide us with valuable information about Huntington’s disease and pepinemab. The generosity and bravery of the trial participants enabled the collection of an important set of samples and data about HD progression and a better understanding of how pepinemab acts on the body and brain. In fact, their contribution has paved the way for ongoing and future clinical trials of pepinemab in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. HDBuzz covered the announcement in depth in their latest article.
Vaccinex CEO Dr. Maurice Zauderer was encouraged by the results and expressed profound gratitude to the participants and their families “for their initiative and enthusiasm in participating in this study and their courage in confronting the burdens of this disease.” We echo this sentiment and are indebted to all of those who participate in clinical trials to expand our knowledge and obtain answers for the entire HD community.
Enroll-HD: a valuable study for the HD community
Dr. Swati Sathe serves as Medical Director of the CHDI Foundation, an organization focused solely on HD research that is responsible for the Enroll-HD study. She took the time to record a video explaining Enroll-HD and how valuable it has been for the HD research community to have access to such a large, standardized set of data from HD family members over time. If you’re not familiar with Enroll-HD, check out www.enroll-hd.org, and consider getting involved alongside the 23,000 others worldwide who are helping to speed the development of HD therapies. It does not involve a drug treatment, just a yearly visit with a team of HD experts to participate in some tests and donate a blood sample. Anyone in an HD family is welcome, regardless of genetic testing or disease status.
HDSA & Me Virtual Education Series
HDSA has relaunched its virtual education series, HDSA & Me, offering thought provoking seminars and interactive sessions brought to you by HDSA Center of Excellence team members. Next Thursday, October 1st, Ashwini Rao, OTR, EdD, will talk about falls, which are an unfortunate consequence of Huntington’s disease. He is a professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University, and member of the clinical care team at the HDSA Center of Excellence there. How common are falls in HD, why do they occur, and what can we do to prevent them? Dr. Rao will look at human factors such as balance, strength, and aerobic capacity, and also examine environmental factors such as space organization, supportive furniture, and lighting. The session will also provide an opportunity for participants to get up and exercise and begin to perform a safety assessment of their space. You can register for this session here.