Recent advances in establishing a cure for GNE myopathy

Curr Opin Neurol. 2022 Oct 1;35(5):629-636. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000001090. Epub 2022 Aug 11.


Purpose of review: GNE myopathy is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by biallelic variants in the GNE gene, which encodes an enzyme involved in sialic acid biosynthesis. No drugs are approved for the treatment of GNE myopathy. Following proof-of-concept of sialic acid supplementation efficacy in mouse models, multiple clinical trials have been conducted. Here, we review clinical trials of sialic acid supplementation therapies and provide new insights into the additional clinical features of GNE myopathy.

Recent findings: Clinical trials of sialic acid supplementation have been conducted in Europe, the USA, Japan, and South Korea. Some clinical trials of NeuAc-extended release tablets demonstrated amelioration of decline in upper extremity muscle strength; however, no significant improvement was observed in phase 3 trials in Europe and USA. A phase 2 trial of ManNAc showed slowed decline of both upper and lower extremity strength. GNE myopathy patient registries have been established in Europe and Japan, and have provided information on extramuscular manifestations such as thrombocytopenia, respiratory dysfunction, and sleep apnea syndrome. Sensitive and reliable biomarkers, and a disease-specific functional activity scale, have also been investigated.

Summary: We discuss recent advances in establishing a GNE myopathy cure, and discuss other prospective therapeutic options, including gene therapy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Distal Myopathies* / drug therapy
  • Distal Myopathies* / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid* / therapeutic use


  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid

Supplementary concepts

  • Distal myopathy, Nonaka type