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    Comprehensive clinical, radiological, pathological and biochemical analysis required to differentiate VV1 sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from suspected variant CJD.
    Holper, S ; Lewis, V ; Wesselingh, R ; Gaillard, F ; Collins, SJ ; Butzkueven, H (BMJ, 2022)
    Background: A diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the zoonotic prion disease related to transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can carry enormous public health ramifications. Until recently, all vCJD clinical cases were confined to patients displaying methionine homozygosity (MM) at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP). The recent diagnosis of vCJD in a patient heterozygous (MV) at codon 129 reignited concerns regarding a second wave of vCJD cases, with the possibility of phenotypic divergence from MM vCJD and greater overlap with sporadic CJD (sCJD) molecular subtypes. Method and results: We present a case of CJD with clinico-epidemiological and radiological characteristics creating initial concerns for vCJD. Thorough case evaluation, including data provided by genetic testing, autopsy and neuropathological histological analyses, provided a definitive diagnosis of the rare VV1 molecular subtype of sCJD. Conclusion: Distinguishing vCJD from sCJD is of vital public health importance and potentially more problematic with the development of non-MM vCJD cases. The patient described herein demonstrates that in addition to the clinico-epidemiological profile, combined supplementary pathological, biochemical and critical radiological analysis may be necessary for confident discrimination of sCJD, especially rare sub-types, from vCJD.
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    Comparative Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Natalizumab and Fingolimod in Patients with Inadequate Response to Disease-Modifying Therapies in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in the United Kingdom
    Spelman, T ; Herring, WL ; Zhang, Y ; Tempest, M ; Pearson, I ; Freudensprung, U ; Acosta, C ; Dort, T ; Hyde, R ; Havrdova, E ; Horakova, D ; Trojano, M ; De Luca, G ; Lugaresi, A ; Izquierdo, G ; Grammond, P ; Duquette, P ; Alroughani, R ; Pucci, E ; Granella, F ; Lechner-Scott, J ; Sola, P ; Ferraro, D ; Grand'Maison, F ; Terzi, M ; Rozsa, C ; Boz, C ; Hupperts, R ; Van Pesch, V ; Oreja-Guevara, C ; van der Walt, A ; Jokubaitis, VG ; Kalincik, T ; Butzkueven, H (ADIS INT LTD, 2021-12-18)
    BACKGROUND: Patients with highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis inadequately responding to first-line therapies (interferon-based therapies, glatiramer acetate, dimethyl fumarate, and teriflunomide, known collectively as "BRACETD") often switch to natalizumab or fingolimod. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to estimate the comparative effectiveness of switching to natalizumab or fingolimod or within BRACETD using real-world data and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of switching to natalizumab versus fingolimod using a United Kingdom (UK) third-party payer perspective. METHODS: Real-world data were obtained from MSBase for patients relapsing on BRACETD in the year before switching to natalizumab or fingolimod or within BRACETD. Three-way-multinomial-propensity-score-matched cohorts were identified, and comparisons between treatment groups were conducted for annualised relapse rate (ARR) and 6-month-confirmed disability worsening (CDW6M) and improvement (CDI6M). Results were applied in a cost-effectiveness model over a lifetime horizon using a published Markov structure with health states based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale. Other model parameters were obtained from the UK MS Survey 2015, published literature, and publicly available UK sources. RESULTS: The MSBase analysis found a significant reduction in ARR (rate ratio [RR] = 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.57-0.72; p < 0.001) and an increase in CDI6M (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.67; 95% CI 1.30-2.15; p < 0.001) for switching to natalizumab compared with BRACETD. For switching to fingolimod, the reduction in ARR (RR = 0.91; 95% CI 0.81-1.03; p = 0.133) and increase in CDI6M (HR = 1.30; 95% CI 0.99-1.72; p = 0.058) compared with BRACETD were not significant. Switching to natalizumab was associated with a significant reduction in ARR (RR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.62-0.79; p < 0.001) and an increase in CDI6M (HR = 1.28; 95% CI 1.01-1.62; p = 0.040) compared to switching to fingolimod. No evidence of difference in CDW6M was found between treatment groups. Natalizumab dominated (higher quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs] and lower costs) fingolimod in the base-case cost-effectiveness analysis (0.453 higher QALYs and £20,843 lower costs per patient). Results were consistent across sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: This novel real-world analysis suggests a clinical benefit for therapy escalation to natalizumab versus fingolimod based on comparative effectiveness results, translating to higher QALYs and lower costs for UK patients inadequately responding to BRACETD.
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    Longitudinal tracking of axonal loss using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis.
    Boonstra, FM ; Clough, M ; Strik, M ; van der Walt, A ; Butzkueven, H ; White, OB ; Law, M ; Fielding, J ; Kolbe, SC (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2022)
    Axonal loss in the CNS is a key driver of progressive neurological impairments in people with multiple sclerosis. Currently, there are no established methods for tracking axonal loss clinically. This study aimed to determine the sensitivity of longitudinal diffusion MRI-derived fibre-specific measures of axonal loss in people with multiple sclerosis. Fibre measures were derived from diffusion MRI acquired as part of a standard radiological MRI protocol and were compared (i) to establish measures of neuro-axonal degeneration: brain parenchymal fraction and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and (ii) between different disease stages: clinically isolated syndrome and early/late relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Retrospectively identified data from 59 people with multiple sclerosis (18 clinically isolated syndrome, 22 early and 19 late relapsing-remitting) who underwent diffusion MRI as part of their routine clinical monitoring were collated and analysed. Twenty-six patients had 1-year and 14 patients had a 2-year follow-up. Brain parenchymal fraction was calculated from 3D MRI scans, and fibre-specific measures were calculated from diffusion MRI using multi-tissue constrained spherical deconvolution. At each study visit, patients underwent optical coherence tomography to determine retinal nerve fibre layer thickness, and standard neurological assessment expanded the disability status scale. We found a significant annual fibre-specific neuro-axonal degeneration (mean ± SD = -3.49 ± 3.32%, P < 0.001) that was ∼7 times larger than the annual change of brain parenchymal fraction (-0.53 ± 0.95%, P < 0.001), and more than four times larger than annual retinal nerve fibre layer thinning (-0.75 ± 2.50% P = 0.036). Only fibre-specific measures showed a significant difference in annual degeneration between the disease stages (P = 0.029). Reduced brain parenchymal fraction, retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and fibre-specific measures were moderately related to higher expanded disability status scale (rho = -0.368, rho = -0.408 and rho = -0.365, respectively). Fibre-specific measures can be measured from data collected within a standard radiological multiple sclerosis study and are substantially more sensitive to longitudinal change compared with brain atrophy and retinal nerve fibre layer thinning.
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    Multiple Sclerosis Relapses Following Cessation of Fingolimod
    Malpas, CB ; Roos, I ; Sharmin, S ; Buzzard, K ; Skibina, O ; Butzkueven, H ; Kappos, L ; Patti, F ; Alroughani, R ; Horakova, D ; Havrdova, EK ; Izquierdo, G ; Eichau, S ; Hodgkinson, S ; Grammond, P ; Lechner-Scott, J ; Kalincik, T (ADIS INT LTD, 2022-03-18)
    BACKGROUND: There is growing interest in the issue of disease reactivation in multiple sclerosis following fingolimod cessation. Relatively little is known about modifiers of the risk of post-cessation relapse, including the delay to commencement of new therapy and prior disease activity. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine the rate of relapse following cessation of fingolimod and to identify predictors of relapse following cessation. METHODS: Data were extracted from the MSBase registry in March 2019. Inclusion criteria were (a) clinically definite relapsing multiple sclerosis, (b) treatment with fingolimod for ≥ 12 months, (c) follow-up after cessation for ≥ 12 months, and (d) at least one Expanded Disability Status Scale score recorded in the 12 months before cessation. RESULTS: A total of 685 patients were identified who met criteria. The mean annualised relapse rate was 1.71 (95% CI 1.59, 1.85) in the year prior to fingolimod, 0.50 (95% CI 0.44, 0.55) on fingolimod and 0.43 (95% CI 0.38, 0.49) after fingolimod. Of these, 218 (32%) patients experienced a relapse in the first 12 months. Predictors of a higher relapse rate in the first year were: younger age at fingolimod cessation, higher relapse rate in the year prior to cessation, delaying commencement of new therapy and switching to low-efficacy therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Disease reactivation following fingolimod cessation is more common in younger patients, those with greater disease activity prior to cessation and in those who switch to a low-efficacy therapy.
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    Failure of alemtuzumab therapy in three patients with MOG antibody associated disease.
    Seneviratne, SO ; Marriott, M ; Ramanathan, S ; Yeh, W ; Brilot-Turville, F ; Butzkueven, H ; Monif, M (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-03-09)
    BACKGROUND: Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD) is most classically associated in both children and adults with phenotypes including bilateral and recurrent optic neuritis (ON) and transverse myelitis (TM), with the absence of brain lesions characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS). ADEM phenotype is the most common presentation of MOGAD in children. However, the presence of clinical phenotypes including unilateral ON and short TM in some patients with MOGAD may lead to their misdiagnosis as MS. Thus, clinically and radiologically, MOGAD can mimic MS and clinical vigilance is required for accurate diagnostic workup. CASE PRESENTATION: We present three cases initially diagnosed as MS and then treated with alemtuzumab. Unexpectedly, all three patients did quite poorly on this medication, with a decline in their clinical status with worsening of expanded disability status scale (EDSS) and an increasing lesion load on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Subsequently, all three cases were found to have anti-MOG antibody in their serum. CONCLUSIONS: These cases highlight that if a patient suspected to have MS does not respond to conventional treatments such as alemtuzumab, a search for alternative diagnoses such as MOG antibody disease may be warranted.
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    Safety of Fingolimod in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Switched from Natalizumab: Results from TRANSITION?A 2-Year, Multicenter, Observational, Cohort Study
    Butzkueven, H ; Giacomini, PS ; Cohan, S ; Ziemssen, T ; Sienkiewicz, D ; Zhang, Y ; Geissbuehler, Y ; Silva, D ; Tomic, D ; Kropshofer, H ; Trojano, M (MDPI, 2022-02-01)
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients receiving natalizumab and who are at risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) often switch to other high-efficacy disease-modifying therapies including fingolimod as a risk mitigation strategy, which could impact treatment safety and effectiveness. The TRANSITION study aimed to evaluate the safety of fingolimod over two years in patients with MS after switching from natalizumab in a real-world setting. The safety and effectiveness were assessed by monitoring serious and other adverse events (SAEs, AEs). We assessed effectiveness by recording relapses, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, and MRI activity. Of 637 patients enrolled, 505 completed the study (mean age, 42 years). Overall, 72.8% and 12.7% experienced AEs and SAEs respectively. The most common AEs were fatigue, headache, and urinary tract infection; no cases of PML were observed. Fingolimod treatment resulted in low disease activity. Patients with ≤8 weeks washout period had a markedly lower risk of relapses (4.5%) than those with >8 weeks (51.4%). In patients switching from natalizumab to fingolimod, no new safety signals with overall low relapse activity were observed in patients with washout latencies of ≤8 weeks before fingolimod initiation. Fingolimod was found to be safe and effective in patients transitioning from natalizumab.
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    Associations of Disease-Modifying Therapies With COVID-19 Severity in Multiple Sclerosis
    Simpson-Yap, S ; De Brouwer, E ; Kalincik, T ; Rijke, N ; Hillert, JA ; Walton, C ; Edan, G ; Moreau, Y ; Spelman, T ; Geys, L ; Parciak, T ; Gautrais, C ; Lazovski, N ; Pirmani, A ; Ardeshirdavanai, A ; Forsberg, L ; Glaser, A ; McBurney, R ; Schmidt, H ; Bergmann, AB ; Braune, S ; Stahmann, A ; Middleton, R ; Salter, A ; Fox, RJ ; van der Walt, A ; Butzkueven, H ; Alroughani, R ; Ozakbas, S ; Rojas, J ; van der Mei, I ; Nag, N ; Ivanov, R ; do Olival, GS ; Dias, AE ; Magyari, M ; Brum, D ; Mendes, MF ; Alonso, RN ; Nicholas, RS ; Bauer, J ; Chertcoff, AS ; Zabalza, A ; Arrambide, G ; Fidao, A ; Comi, G ; Peeters, L (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2021-11-09)
    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are a vulnerable group for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), particularly those taking immunosuppressive disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). We examined the characteristics of COVID-19 severity in an international sample of people with MS. METHODS: Data from 12 data sources in 28 countries were aggregated (sources could include patients from 1-12 countries). Demographic (age, sex), clinical (MS phenotype, disability), and DMT (untreated, alemtuzumab, cladribine, dimethyl fumarate, glatiramer acetate, interferon, natalizumab, ocrelizumab, rituximab, siponimod, other DMTs) covariates were queried, along with COVID-19 severity outcomes, hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, need for artificial ventilation, and death. Characteristics of outcomes were assessed in patients with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, MS phenotype, and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. RESULTS: Six hundred fifty-seven (28.1%) with suspected and 1,683 (61.9%) with confirmed COVID-19 were analyzed. Among suspected plus confirmed and confirmed-only COVID-19, 20.9% and 26.9% were hospitalized, 5.4% and 7.2% were admitted to ICU, 4.1% and 5.4% required artificial ventilation, and 3.2% and 3.9% died. Older age, progressive MS phenotype, and higher disability were associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes. Compared to dimethyl fumarate, ocrelizumab and rituximab were associated with hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-2.41; aOR 2.43, 95% CI 1.48-4.02) and ICU admission (aOR 2.30, 95% CI 0.98-5.39; aOR 3.93, 95% CI 1.56-9.89), although only rituximab was associated with higher risk of artificial ventilation (aOR 4.00, 95% CI 1.54-10.39). Compared to pooled other DMTs, ocrelizumab and rituximab were associated with hospitalization (aOR 1.75, 95% CI 1.29-2.38; aOR 2.76, 95% CI 1.87-4.07) and ICU admission (aOR 2.55, 95% CI 1.49-4.36; aOR 4.32, 95% CI 2.27-8.23), but only rituximab was associated with artificial ventilation (aOR 6.15, 95% CI 3.09-12.27). Compared to natalizumab, ocrelizumab and rituximab were associated with hospitalization (aOR 1.86, 95% CI 1.13-3.07; aOR 2.88, 95% CI 1.68-4.92) and ICU admission (aOR 2.13, 95% CI 0.85-5.35; aOR 3.23, 95% CI 1.17-8.91), but only rituximab was associated with ventilation (aOR 5.52, 95% CI 1.71-17.84). Associations persisted on restriction to confirmed COVID-19 cases. No associations were observed between DMTs and death. Stratification by age, MS phenotype, and EDSS score found no indications that DMT associations with COVID-19 severity reflected differential DMT allocation by underlying COVID-19 severity. DISCUSSION: Using the largest cohort of people with MS and COVID-19 available, we demonstrated consistent associations of rituximab with increased risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and need for artificial ventilation and of ocrelizumab with hospitalization and ICU admission. Despite the cross-sectional design of the study, the internal and external consistency of these results with prior studies suggests that rituximab/ocrelizumab use may be a risk factor for more severe COVID-19.
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    No evidence for loss of natalizumab effectiveness with every-6-week dosing: a propensity score-matched comparison with every-4-week dosing in patients enrolled in the Tysabri Observational Program (TOP)
    Butzkueven, H ; Kappos, L ; Spelman, T ; Trojano, M ; Wiendl, H ; Su, R ; Liao, S ; Hyde, R ; Licata, S ; Ho, P-R ; Campbell, N (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: Extended interval dosing of natalizumab is associated with significantly lower progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy risk compared with every-4-week (Q4W) dosing in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Previous studies have suggested that natalizumab effectiveness is maintained in patients who switch from Q4W to extended interval dosing but have been limited by a lack of well-matched patient cohorts. METHODS: Tysabri Observational Program (TOP) data as of November 2019 were used to identify patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treated with natalizumab Q4W and those with a single physician-indicated dosing change from Q4W to every-6-week (Q6W) dosing after ⩾1 year of Q4W treatment. Patients were propensity score matched at the time of the switch from Q4W to Q6W dosing. Clinical outcomes (annualized relapse rate and probability of remaining relapse free or free of 24-week confirmed disability worsening) and safety outcomes were assessed for the two cohorts. RESULTS: This study included 219 pairs of propensity score-matched Q6W and Q4W patients. Annualized relapse rates were similar for Q6W (0.150) and Q4W (0.157) patients. The probability of remaining relapse free [hazard ratio = 1.243 (95% confidence interval = 0.819-1.888); p = 0.307] and of remaining free of 24-week confirmed disability worsening [hazard ratio = 0.786 (95% confidence interval = 0.284-2.176); p = 0.644] did not differ significantly between Q6W and Q4W patients. Summarized safety results for the matched Q6W and Q4W patients are also presented. CONCLUSION: These real-world findings in well-matched patient cohorts from TOP demonstrate that natalizumab effectiveness is maintained in patients who switch to Q6W dosing after ⩾1 year of Q4W dosing. CLINICALTRIALSGOV IDENTIFIER: NCT00493298.
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    Epigenome-wide association studies: current knowledge, strategies and recommendations.
    Campagna, MP ; Xavier, A ; Lechner-Scott, J ; Maltby, V ; Scott, RJ ; Butzkueven, H ; Jokubaitis, VG ; Lea, RA (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-12-04)
    The aetiology and pathophysiology of complex diseases are driven by the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. The variability in risk and outcomes in these diseases are incompletely explained by genetics or environmental risk factors individually. Therefore, researchers are now exploring the epigenome, a biological interface at which genetics and the environment can interact. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the role of epigenetic mechanisms in complex disease pathophysiology. Epigenome-wide association studies (EWASes) investigate the association between a phenotype and epigenetic variants, most commonly DNA methylation. The decreasing cost of measuring epigenome-wide methylation and the increasing accessibility of bioinformatic pipelines have contributed to the rise in EWASes published in recent years. Here, we review the current literature on these EWASes and provide further recommendations and strategies for successfully conducting them. We have constrained our review to studies using methylation data as this is the most studied epigenetic mechanism; microarray-based data as whole-genome bisulphite sequencing remains prohibitively expensive for most laboratories; and blood-based studies due to the non-invasiveness of peripheral blood collection and availability of archived DNA, as well as the accessibility of publicly available blood-cell-based methylation data. Further, we address multiple novel areas of EWAS analysis that have not been covered in previous reviews: (1) longitudinal study designs, (2) the chip analysis methylation pipeline (ChAMP), (3) differentially methylated region (DMR) identification paradigms, (4) methylation quantitative trait loci (methQTL) analysis, (5) methylation age analysis and (6) identifying cell-specific differential methylation from mixed cell data using statistical deconvolution.
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    Prognostic Indicators in Pediatric Clinically Isolated Syndrome
    Iaffaldano, P ; Simone, M ; Lucisano, G ; Ghezzi, A ; Coniglio, G ; Morra, VB ; Salemi, G ; Patti, F ; Lugaresi, A ; Izquierdo, G ; Bergamaschi, R ; Cabrera-Gomez, JA ; Pozzilli, C ; Millefiorini, E ; Alroughani, R ; Boz, C ; Pucci, E ; Zimatore, GB ; Sola, P ; Lus, G ; Maimone, D ; Avolio, C ; Cocco, E ; Sajedi, SA ; Costantino, G ; Duquette, P ; Shaygannejad, V ; Petersen, T ; Fernandez Bolanos, R ; Paolicelli, D ; Tortorella, C ; Spelman, T ; Margari, L ; Amato, MP ; Comi, G ; Butzkueven, H ; Trojano, M (WILEY, 2017-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To assess prognostic factors for a second clinical attack and a first disability-worsening event in pediatric clinically isolated syndrome (pCIS) suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. METHODS: A cohort of 770 pCIS patients was followed up for at least 10 years. Cox proportional hazard models and Recursive Partitioning and Amalgamation (RECPAM) tree-regression were used to analyze data. RESULTS: In pCIS, female sex and a multifocal onset were risk factors for a second clinical attack (hazard ratio [HR], 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.28, 1.06-1.55; 1.42, 1.10-1.84, respectively), whereas disease-modifying drug (DMD) exposure reduced this risk (HR, 95% CI = 0.75, 0.60-0.95). After pediatric onset MS (POMS) diagnosis, age at onset younger than 15 years and DMD exposure decreased the risk of a first Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)-worsening event (HR, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.42-0.83; 0.75, 0.71-0.80, respectively), whereas the occurrence of relapse increased this risk (HR, 95% CI = 5.08, 3.46-7.46). An exploratory RECPAM analysis highlighted a significantly higher incidence of a first EDSS-worsening event in patients with multifocal or isolated spinal cord or optic neuritis involvement at onset in comparison to those with an isolated supratentorial or brainstem syndrome. A Cox regression model including RECPAM classes confirmed DMD exposure as the most protective factor against EDSS-worsening events and relapses as the most important risk factor for attaining EDSS worsening. INTERPRETATION: This work represents a step forward in identifying predictors of unfavorable course in pCIS and POMS and supports a protective effect of early DMD treatment in preventing MS development and disability accumulation in this population. Ann Neurol 2017;81:729-739.