Multiple System Atrophy Study Group
We plan to develop a common data-set, including disease-specific validated rating scales for harmonized data acquisition. Second, we intend to launch a global MSA patient registry. Third, we will launch studies focusing on the discovery of diagnostic and surrogate (bio)markers, and determination of environmental and genetic underpinnings. Finally, we will develop consensus (best-practice) guidelines for the standard of care in MSA (based on the principles of evidence-based medicine).
To this end, we defined the following specific aims:
1. To establish a global patient registry
2. To set up a decentralized biomaterial bank and thereby define standard operating procedures to harmonize blood, CSF and brain tissue sampling.
3. To identify MSA genetic risk loci using large-scale genome-wide association studies
4. To develop, translate and validate additional MSA-specific rating scales
5. To define and validate autonomic progression markers
6. To define and validate MRI and functional imaging surrogate progression markers
7. To develop interventional trial guidelines
8. To develop best-practice (evidence-based) guidelines for pharmacologic as well as non-pharmacologic treatments.
9. To investigate MSA pathophysiological mechanisms and screen candidate compounds in preclinical MSA models
Need for a study group in the field
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare and relentlessly progressive movement disorder with an estimated prevalence of 4/100,000 people (Schrag 1999). There is currently no treatment available to significantly alleviate motor and autonomic symptoms or to modify the natural course of the disease. In addition, there are no widely accepted guidelines on symptomatic treatment strategies available.
To date, clinical MSA research has been limited by the low prevalence rate preventing individual research sites from studying sufficient patient numbers. Thus, a coordinated effort at an international level is required to advance MSA research in the field of biomarker discovery, early diagnosis, definition of genetic underpinnings and translational drug development. Consequently, an administrative framework for global collaborative MSA research is needed.