NIH Clinical Center Search the Studies: Study Number, Study Title

Protocol Details

Natural History of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 7 (SCA7)

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Eye Institute (NEI)

Recruitment Detail

Type: Participants currently recruited/enrolled
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 12 Years
Max Age: N/A

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)

Adults who are or may become unable to consent


Spinocerebellar Ataxia;
Natural History

Recruitment Keyword(s)



Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Investigational Drug(s)


Investigational Device(s)




Supporting Site

National Eye Institute


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is disease in which people have problems with coordination, balance, speech and vision. It is caused by a change in the ATXN7 gene. A mutation in this ATXN7 gene causes changes in eye cells, which can lead to vision loss. There is no cure for SCA7 but researchers are looking for possible treatments. Researchers need more information about SCA7. They want to collect vision and neurology related data from people with SCA7. They want to learn how and what changes in the eye and brain when the ATXN7 gene isn t working properly.


To learn more about SCA7 and its progression.


People ages 12 and older with SCA7.


Participants will be screened with medical history and genetic testing from a previous National Eye Institute study or their personal physician.

Participants will have at least 7 visits over 5 years. They will have 2 visits during the first week of the study. Then they will be asked to come back every year for the next 5 years. Each visit will last several days and will include:

- Medical and eye history

- Several eye tests: some will include dilating the pupil with eye drops and taking photos or scans of the eyes.

- Electroretinography (ERG): Participants will sit in the dark with their eyes patched for 30 minutes. After this, the patches will be removed and contact lenses put into the eyes. They will watch flashing lights and information will be recorded.

- Neurological exams: Sensation, strength, coordination, reflexes, attention, memory, language, and other cognitive functions will be tested.

- Brain MRI: They will lie in a machine that takes pictures of the brain.

- Blood and urine tests

- Optional skin biopsy: About 3 millimeters of skin will be removed for more research testing; this is half the size of a pencil eraser.

--Back to Top--



To be eligible, the following inclusion criteria must be met, where applicable.

1. Participant must be 12 years of age or older.

2. Participant must be able to understand and sign the protocol s informed consent document on their own behalf OR, in the case of a minor, have a legal guardian/parent with the ability to do the same.

3. Participant must be able to produce a recordable electroretinogram (ERG).

4. Participant must have the ability to cooperate the required testing. Participants unable to cooperate with one or more tests may be included only at the discretion of the Principal Investigator.

5. Participant must be willing and able to provide a blood sample.

6. Any female participant of childbearing potential must agree to have pregnancy testing prior to undergoing MRI.

7. Participant has molecularly-confirmed, symptomatic SCA7, as defined by CAG repeat expansion in the ATXN7 gene of greater than 35 repeats. Accrual will be biased towards those with lower numbers of abnormal repeats (above 35 repeats) as they are most likely to be able to cooperate with testing. Participants who have clinical findings consistent with SCA7 and a relative who has had molecular diagnosis, may be included in the study with subsequent confirmation of the number of repeats. Patients who have clinical findings consistent with SCA7, but no molecular diagnosis may be evaluated under an NEI screening, genetics bank, or evaluation and treatment protocol with subsequent molecular diagnosis performed within six months of their initial visit.


A participant is not eligible if any of the following exclusion criteria are present.

1. Participant is unable to cooperate with ophthalmic/neurologic testing, including inability to undergo brain MRI without sedation.

2. Participant has comorbidity, unrelated to ocular pathology, compromising the ability to view/image the retina and/or record an ERG.

--Back to Top--


Not Provided

--Back to Top--


Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Laryssa A. Huryn, M.D.
National Eye Institute (NEI)
(301) 435-8810

Daniel W. Claus, R.N.
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health
Building 10
Room 10D45
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(301) 451-1621

Office of Patient Recruitment
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Building 61, 10 Cloister Court
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Toll Free: 1-800-411-1222
Local Phone: 301-451-4383
TTY: TTY Users Dial 7-1-1

Clinical Trials Number:


--Back to Top--