Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium

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The Problem

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal disease caused by a genetic mutation in the DMD gene and manifests as progressive muscle degeneration leading to loss of ambulation, loss of upper limb function, respiratory and cardiac function failure. A major hurdle when it comes to improving treatments for DMD is the complexity of the disease itself, including the wide variety of genetic mutations. This complexity means that developing effective treatments can be difficult, as researchers must consider multiple factors, such as the specific type of mutation, disease stage and age of individuals living with DMD. 

Variable disease progression, and lack of standardized indicators of disease for DMD are also major challenges which can make it difficult to assess treatment effectiveness. 

In addition, the rarity of the disease poses a challenge for clinical trials. DMD has approximately 20,000 new diagnoses per year, mostly in boys. The growing number of drugs in development, and the small population size, makes it difficult to recruit enough patients for clinical trials, which can lead to long trial durations and limited statistical power. In turn, this makes it difficult to detect treatment effects. 

The Solution

To combat these challenges, the Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium (D-RSC) has created an integrated database of patient-level clinical data from DMD studies, which is partially available for analysis by the Duchenne community as permitted by the owners of each dataset. Created by Critical Path Institute (C-Path) and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), D-RSC has generated  standard terminology to integrate data and has written the CDISC Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapeutic Area User Guide, which is available to the community. Using its reach database, D-RSC has completed the development of the first Clinical Trial Simulation tool for DMD and recently received a Letter of Support from the EMA while additional regulatory review processes are ongoing. You can access the DMD Clinical Trial Simulation Tool here.

In collaboration with C-Path’s Predictive Safety Testing Consortium, we are developing glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) as a safety biomarker for liver toxicity in patients with underlying muscle damage and have received a formal “letter of support” from EMA and positive response to the Qualification Plan for GLDH from the FDA. Future projects may include supporting the regulatory acceptance of other DMD-relevant biomarkers and patient reported outcomes or development of additional models to be leveraged for drug development. 

The Impact

The D-RSC team works every day to mitigate the effects of DMD and to bring new treatments to market faster. To do so, D-RSC provides: 

  • The development of disease progression models of five endpoints to integrate into a quantitative solution – a Clinical Trial Simulation (CTS) tool
  • Qualification of glutamate dehydrogenase as a liver safety biomarker in trials involving patients affected by muscle disorders. 
  • Regulatory acceptance of Clinical Outcome Assessments (COAs) for DMD 
  • Regulatory acceptance of quantitative tools based on MRI biomarkers for DMD and their relationship to disease progression 
  • Models of additional endpoints as data become available 


Regulatory Successes FAQ Icon
Publications FAQ Icon
  • Published paper on “Transforming Drug Development for Neurological Disorders: Proceedings from a Multidisease Area Workshop” (2023).
  • Published paper on “Multivariate modeling of magnetic resonance biomarkers and clinical outcome measures for Duchenne muscular dystrophy clinical trials” (2023).
  • Published paper on “Development of a model-based clinical trial simulation platform to optimize the design of clinical trials for Duchenne muscular dystrophy” (2021).
  • Published paper on “Standardized Data Structures in Rare Diseases: CDISC User Guides for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” (2020).
  • Published paper on “Serum Glutamate Dehydrogenase Activity Enables Early Detection of Liver Injury in Subjects with Underlying Muscle Impairments” in partnership with the Predictive Safety Testing Consortium (2020).
  • Published paper on “Seeking a Better Landscape for Therapy Development in Neuromuscular Disorders” (2018).
  • Published CDISC Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapeutic Area User Guide Version 1.0 (2017).

D-RSC Database

The Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium (D-RSC) Database is open to non-consortium members if approved by a data use committee consisting of neutral members of the consortium. By sharing this resource, D-RSC aims to extend and amplify the availability of data to accelerate drug development for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The database includes data from DMD clinical trials, natural history studies, and clinical data collections.

How to Share Data with

Share Data Here: https://portal.rdca.c-path.org/contribute-data

D-RSC promotes the sharing of patient-level data and encourages the standardization of new data collection. All shared rare disease data, including DMD and BMD, are collected in the Rare Disease Cures Accelerator-Data and Analytics Platform (RDCA-DAP®). By integrating data in a format suitable for analytics, RDCA-DAP accelerates the understanding of disease progression (including sources of variability to optimize the characterization of subpopulations), clinical outcome measures and biomarkers, and facilitates the development of mathematical models of disease and innovative clinical trial designs.

C-Path RDCA-DAP Portal: https://portal.rdca.c-path.org

D-RSC efforts and solutions are all data driven and the precious data shared become part of sophisticated regulatory ready solutions that are provided back to the community in form of freely available drug development tools to advance drug development in DMD and other dystrophinopathies.

DMD Clinical Trial Simulation (CTS) Tool

What is the DMD Clinical Trial Simulation Tool?

  • A model-based clinical trial simulation tool aimed at optimizing clinical trial design of efficacy studies of potential therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). 
  • The D-RSC team developed models of the longitudinal changes in the velocity at which individuals can complete specified timed functional tests, frequently used as clinical trial efficacy endpoints (supine-stand, 4-stair climb and 10meter walk/run test or 30-foot walk/run test), as well as the longitudinal changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) and North Star Ambulatory Assessment total score (NSAA). 
  • The longitudinal models incorporate relevant sources of variability, such as baseline severity at study start, age, steroid use (at baseline or naïve), genetic mutation, study type (clinical trial vs. observational), and race. 
  • The EMA has issued a Letter of Support to encourage the further development and validation of the DMD Clinical Trial Simulation Platform, as well as encouraging sponsors to share patient-level data with the D-RSC team. 




Ramona Belfiore-Oshan, PhD
Executive Director, Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium

Pat Furlong
Founding President and CEO, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

C-Path Team

Stacy Owen
Project Manager II, D-RSC

Lysandra Gomez
Project Coordinator II, D-RSC

Klaus Romero, MD, MS, FCP
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Science Officer

Collin Hovinga, PharmD, MS, FCCP, Vice President, Rare and Orphan Disease Programs

Rick Liwski
Chief Technology Officer; Director, Data Collaboration Center

Cécile Ollivier
Vice President, Global Affairs

Shu Chin Ma, PhD, Ma, MS, MPhil,
Vice President, Model-Informed Drug Development and Quantitative Medicine

Zihan Cui
Quantitative Medicine Developer II

Grace V. Lee
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Quantitative Medicine

Sakshi Sardar
Senior Scientific Director, Digital and Precision Medicine, Quantitative Medicine

Lauren Quinlan
Quantitative Medicine Developer I

Rachel Xu
Quantitative Medicine Developer

Yi Zhang
Director of Pharmacometrics, Quantitative Medicine

Diane Corey
Data Team Manager, Data Collaboration Center

Nathan Cuncelli
Data Manager II, Data Collaboration Center

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