Raul Hernandez was no stranger to sports activity, and was active in Little League by the time he was 10 years old. But one day while running a short race at school, Raul experienced an intense burning sensation in his feet that turned his world upside down. From that day forward, he would experience severe pain in his feet any time he engaged in physical activity or, strangely, when the weather was hot or it rained. The situation worsened when the pain spread to his hands. His doctors, however, were unable to find anything wrong with him, telling his parents that the pain was all in his mind.
Seventeen years later, Raul was officially diagnosed with Fabry disease – a rare genetic disorder that causes severe pain in the hands and feet, eventually destroying vital organs in the body. Yet even after Raul was diagnosed, no therapy was available to treat the disease. It was not until two-and-a-half years ago that Raul learned that a clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was testing a new drug designed to replace the enzyme that he was missing. The next thing he knew, he was on a plane to Los Angeles from his hometown in Salinas, California to take part in the clinical trial. Since then, Raul commutes every two weeks to receive treatment. He says that he is once again exercising without pain and leads as normal life as anyone else.
An update of the clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and at 19 other centers throughout the country and Europe, was presented this month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Baltimore, Maryland by William Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., a medical geneticist at Cedars-Sinai. The findings show that patients receiving enzyme replacement therapy for a near-two-year period via infusion with a drug called r-haGAL (FabrazymeTM) continue to benefit from reduced pain and prevention of further organ damage.
Kelli Stauning | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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