Wang RT, Nelson SF. What can Duchenne Connect teach us about treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy? Current opinion in neurology 2015;28:535-41.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review aims to describe the benefits and limitations of using the Duchenne Connect patient registry to provide information particularly in regard to active treatment choices in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their impact on disease progression.
RECENT FINDINGS: Clinical trials and natural history studies are difficult for rare diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Using an online patient self-report survey model, Duchenne Connect provides relevant data that are difficult to gather in other ways. Validation of the overall dataset is supported by comparable mutational spectrum relative to other cohorts and demonstrated beneficial effect of corticosteroid use in prolonging ambulation. These types of analyses are provocative and allow multivariate analyses across the breadth of patient and physician medication and supplement practices. Because the data are self-reported and online, the barrier to participation is low and great potential exists for novel directions of further research in a highly participatory forum.
SUMMARY: Patient registries for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy (DBMD) are powerful tools for monitoring patient outcomes, comparing treatment options, and relating information between patients, researchers, and clinicians. Duchenne Connect is an online patient self-report registry for individuals with DBMD that facilitates aggregation of treatment modalities, outcomes, and genotype data and has played a vital role in furthering DBMD research, particularly in the USA, in a highly participatory and low-cost manner.