MRI surveillance of boys with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy identified by newborn screening: Meta-analysis and consensus guidelines.



Among boys with X-Linked adrenoleukodystrophy, a subset will develop childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CCALD). CCALD is typically lethal without hematopoietic stem cell transplant before or soon after symptom onset. We sought to establish evidence-based guidelines detailing the neuroimaging surveillance of boys with neurologically asymptomatic adrenoleukodystrophy.


To establish the most frequent age and diagnostic neuroimaging modality for CCALD, we completed a meta-analysis of relevant studies published between January 1, 1970 and September 10, 2019. We used the consensus development conference method to incorporate the resulting data into guidelines to inform the timing and techniques for neuroimaging surveillance. Final guideline agreement was defined as >80% consensus.


One hundred twenty-three studies met inclusion criteria yielding 1285 patients. The overall mean age of CCALD diagnosis is 7.91 years old. The median age of CCALD diagnosis calculated from individual patient data is 7.0 years old (IQR: 6.0-9.5, n = 349). Ninety percent of patients were diagnosed between 3 and 12. Conventional MRI was most frequently reported, comprised most often of T2-weighted and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted MRI. The expert panel achieved 95.7% consensus on the following surveillance parameters: (a) Obtain an MRI between 12 and 18 months old. (b) Obtain a second MRI 1 year after baseline. (c) Between 3 and 12 years old, obtain a contrast-enhanced MRI every 6 months. (d) After 12 years, obtain an annual MRI.


Boys with adrenoleukodystrophy identified early in life should be monitored with serial brain MRIs during the period of highest risk for conversion to CCALD.





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Publication Info

Mallack, Eric J, Bela R Turk, Helena Yan, Carrie Price, Michelle Demetres, Ann B Moser, Catherine Becker, Kim Hollandsworth, et al. (2021). MRI surveillance of boys with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy identified by newborn screening: Meta-analysis and consensus guidelines. Journal of inherited metabolic disease, 44(3). pp. 728–739. 10.1002/jimd.12356 Retrieved from

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Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.

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