Gene-Targeted Therapies in Pediatric Neurology: Challenges and Opportunities in Diagnosis and Delivery

Child Neurology Society Research Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Gene-targeted therapies are becoming a reality for infants and children with diseases of the nervous system. Rapid scientific advances have led to disease-modifying or even curative treatments. However, delays and gaps in diagnosis, inequitable delivery, and the need for long-term surveillance pose unresolved challenges. Objective and Methods: The goal of the Child Neurology Society Research Committee was to evaluate and provide guidance on the obstacles, opportunities, and uncertainties in gene-targeted therapies for pediatric neurological disease. The Child Neurology Society Research Committee engaged in collaborative, iterative literature review and committee deliberations to prepare this consensus statement. Results: We identified important challenges for gene-targeted therapies that require resource investments, infrastructure development, and strategic planning. Barriers include inequities in diagnosis and delivery of therapies, high costs, and a need for long-term surveillance of efficacy and safety, including systematic tracking of unanticipated effects. Key uncertainties regarding technical aspects and usage of gene-targeted therapies should be addressed, and characterization of new natural histories of diseases will be needed. Counterbalanced with these obstacles and uncertainties is the tremendous potential being demonstrated in treatments and clinical trials of gene-targeted therapies. Conclusions: Given that gene-targeted therapies for neurological diseases are in their earliest phase, the pediatric neurology community can play a vital role in their guidance and implementation. This role includes facilitating development of infrastructure and guidelines; ensuring efficient, equitable, and ethical implementation of treatments; and advocating for affordable and broad access for all children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Volume125
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Antisense oligonucleotide
  • Child neurology
  • Diagnosis
  • Disparities
  • Ethics
  • Gene therapy
  • Health economics
  • Rare disease

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