CHDI's 17th Annual Therapeutics Conference: The Future of Huntington's Research
CHDI’s 17th Annual Therapeutics Conference: Event Review
By Ronald Ramos (Senior Director, Business Development) and Kirsi Kinnunen (Senior Biomarker Scientist)
CHDI’s 17th Annual HD Therapeutics Conference finally returned to a full, in-person event for the first time since 2020. It was filled with both joy, to be able to interact and see old friends, colleagues, and collaborators again in person, and with hope for the future of HD therapeutics research.
2021 was a challenging year for the field of Huntington’s Disease research, not only because of COVID-19, but also because of the failure of two late-stage trials for both Roche and Wave Life Sciences.
This was acknowledged by the keynote speaker, Charlotte Raven, a London-based journalist and author in her early 50s, now living with Huntington’s Disease. She spoke about her new memoir, Patient 1: Finding and Forgetting Myself, documenting her journey with coming to terms with living with HD, and also participating in Roche’s Phase III GENERATION HD1 study. Charlotte’s story highlighted how, even with failures, the work to develop new HD therapeutics provides desperately needed hope for both patients and families living with this disease.
The conference was a thorough review of HD research, starting at the molecular level, all the way through to late-stage clinical trials. This was all covered over the four-day meeting in both the oral presentations and during the poster sessions.
The earlier sessions started primarily with academic teams reviewing their efforts in elucidating the HD biology, the pathogenesis of the disease, and potential targets for future diagnostics or treatment. The sessions then progressed to a review of natural history studies, a review of new HD integrated staging criteria (HD-ISS) and updates from Sponsors, including Roche, Wave Life Sciences, uniQure, PTC Therapeutics and Novartis, on their ongoing Huntington’s disease clinical trials.
IXICO was able to highlight its prominent position as the go-to neuroimaging provider in Huntington’s Disease research and co-present a poster with uniQure entitled Radiographic and clinical progression after motor diagnosis in HD is a function of initial striatal volume and functional scores: a re-analysis of TRACK-HD/TRACK-ON HD MRI images and data.
The poster presentation gave us the opportunity to discuss a new initiative to perform a retrospective analysis on TRACK, PREDICT and IMAGE HD observational studies’ volumetric MRI data. For that, we will be using novel brain segmentation techniques using IXICO’s latest technology, IXIQ.Ai. There was a lot of interest in this project as a way to support trial sponsors’ decision-making regarding their clinical development plans, and as a way to potentially avoid having to do a natural history study prior to a clinical trial.
While this conference has traditionally been held at this same location in Palm Springs, California, there was talk that next year’s location and venue might be different. Regardless, we look forward to returning, as the CHDI conference presents us with a unique opportunity to interact with study sponsors, including our existing and prospective clients, and to position IXICO a key science partner in HD, not just an imaging vendor.