Background: Local intramuscular administration of the antisense oligonucleotide PRO051 in patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy with relevant mutations was previously reported to induce the skipping of exon 51 during pre-messenger RNA splicing of the dystrophin gene and to facilitate new dystrophin expression in muscle-fiber membranes. The present phase 1-2a study aimed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and molecular and clinical effects of systemically administered PRO051.
Methods: We administered weekly abdominal subcutaneous injections of PRO051 for 5 weeks in 12 patients, with each of four possible doses (0.5, 2.0, 4.0, and 6.0 mg per kilogram of body weight) given to 3 patients. Changes in RNA splicing and protein levels in the tibialis anterior muscle were assessed at two time points. All patients subsequently entered a 12-week open-label extension phase, during which they all received PRO051 at a dose of 6.0 mg per kilogram per week. Safety, pharmacokinetics, serum creatine kinase levels, and muscle strength and function were assessed.
Results: The most common adverse events were irritation at the administration site and, during the extension phase, mild and variable proteinuria and increased urinary α(1)-microglobulin levels; there were no serious adverse events. The mean terminal half-life of PRO051 in the circulation was 29 days. PRO051 induced detectable, specific exon-51 skipping at doses of 2.0 mg or more per kilogram. New dystrophin expression was observed between approximately 60% and 100% of muscle fibers in 10 of the 12 patients, as measured on post-treatment biopsy, which increased in a dose-dependent manner to up to 15.6% of the expression in healthy muscle. After the 12-week extension phase, there was a mean (±SD) improvement of 35.2±28.7 m (from the baseline of 384±121 m) on the 6-minute walk test.
Conclusions: Systemically administered PRO051 showed dose-dependent molecular efficacy in patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, with a modest improvement in the 6-minute walk test after 12 weeks of extended treatment. (Funded by Prosensa Therapeutics; Netherlands National Trial Register number, NTR1241.).