The first commercially available treatment in the United States for patients with late-onset Pompe disease was administered today (Wednesday, June 16) at the University of Florida.
Pompe disease is a rare form of muscular dystrophy and has been the focus of a research program at UF for more than 10 years. It is now part of expanded efforts in neuromuscular disease research.
People with Pompe disease cannot produce the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase, or GAA. Without the enzyme, sugars and starches that are stored in the body as glycogen accumulate and destroy muscle cells, particularly those of the heart and respiratory muscles. Many patients need ventilators to breathe.
The therapy, developed by Genzyme Corp. and marketed under the name Lumizyme, involves intravenous infusions to replace the missing GAA enzyme in patients over 8 years of age.
"We are privileged to participate in the care of patients with Pompe disease and have a dedicated team in both clinical care and research for this form of muscular dystrophy," said Dr. Barry Byrne, the director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center and a member of the UF Genetics Institute. "The use of Lumizyme in the United States is the culmination of many years of work by basic science and clinical researchers around the world. Access to Lumizyme has been long-awaited by the patient community and this marks an important chapter as a specific therapy for this neuromuscular disease."
Although rare, late-onset Pompe disease can occur to patients even in their 60s, who begin showing signs of muscle weakness and respiratory problems, often undiagnosed at an earlier age.
Monique Griffin, 35, of Orlando, was the first patient at UF to receive commercially available Lumizyme -- technically known as alglucosidase alfa.
She was diagnosed with Pompe disease in January 2010, and has been receiving enzyme infusions on a study basis since March. She had formerly been employed as a communications specialist at a casino-resort in Las Vegas before being sidelined by the condition.
She can walk short distances, but largely relies on an electric scooter to move about.
"I noticed some improvement in mobility right after the first few treatments," Griffin said. "This has been a very long process. I had symptoms for 10 years before I finally got a Pompe diagnosis, and I was in constant pain for most of 2009, so I have already felt some benefits of this treatment. I still have flare-ups, but I am not as tired and have had some slight improvements in endurance and mobility. I still only walk very short distances, but I am more stable."
The infusion takes about four hours.
"This is an important day for the Pompe community, especially for those patients with late-onset Pompe disease in the United States who are awaiting treatment for this devastating disease," said John Butler, president of Personalized Genetic Health at Genzyme. "We appreciate the efforts of the University of Florida over the years to support the Pompe community, and their partnership with Genzyme to provide access to therapy for patients as quickly as possible."
During Lumizyme's preapproval period, Genzyme worked with patients and physicians to assure that the most severely affected late-onset patients in the United States could access therapy.
"There has been a long period of review and discussion," said Byrne, a pediatric cardiologist. "Now that the treatment's commercially available, there will certainly be an impact for a larger proportion of patients. Future research of this type will be greatly facilitated by UF's Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health."
John Pastor | EurekAlert!
New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia
New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences