Our laboratory previously established spinal motor neurons (MN) from induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) prepared from both sporadic and familial ALS patients, and successfully recapitulated disease-specific pathophysiological processes. We next searched for effective drugs capable of slowing the progression of ALS using a drug library of 1232 existing compounds and discovered that ropinirole hydrochloride prevented MN death. In December 2018, we started an investigator-initiated clinical trial testing ropinirole hydrochloride extended-release tablets in ALS patients. This is an on-going phase I/IIa randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-center, open-label continuation clinical trial (UMIN000034954). The primary aim is to assess the safety and tolerability of ropinirole hydrochloride in patients with ALS. We will also perform an efficacy evaluation using patient-derived iPSCs/MN. Major inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) 'clinically possible and laboratory-supported ALS', 'clinically probable ALS' or 'clinically definite ALS', according to the criteria for the diagnosis of ALS (El Escorial revised) and within 60 months after disease onset; 2) change in ALSFRS-R score of -2 to -5 points during the 12-week run-in period. Finally, 15 patients will be assigned to the active drug and 5 patients to the placebo. Our trial will be a touchstone trial for iPSC-based drug development strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology