What is Gaucher’s Disease?
Gaucher’s disease is a condition that is caused by the accumulation of a protein called alpha-1 antichymotrypsin in the blood. This protein is a component of a large family of proteins which are responsible for maintaining cell structure, and cellular function and determining cell size. In addition, it plays an important role in regulating body functions such as blood clotting and glucose concentration. The disease can affect individuals of all ages but is most common in people aged 15-65. It causes chronic kidney and liver damage and can be life-threatening. Fortunately, there are several treatments available. However, the disease can be fatal in some cases, especially in the perinatal phase.
Getting a Gaucher disease diagnosis can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of symptoms, and not all of them are obvious. A doctor will usually perform a physical examination to assess if you have the disease. But a more specialized test can confirm the diagnosis.
People with Gaucher disease have a deficiency of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase. The enzyme breaks down fatty chemicals. Its absence leads to an accumulation of these substances in the body. This leads to the symptoms of the disease.
The most common type of Gaucher’s disease is type 1 (non-neuronopathic). Type 2 is more serious. In this form of disease, the lungs and heart valves can calcify. Also, the bones can be weakened. They may break, resulting in painful fractures.
If your doctor does not make a definitive Gauchers disease diagnosis, you may be referred to a haematologist or geneticist. However, it is not always necessary to see a specialist. You can also talk to other people who have the disease or visit a support group in your area.
Treatment is available to most people with Gauchers disease. The main treatment involves replacing the enzyme that is missing. Enzyme replacement therapy is administered intravenously or at home.
The symptoms of Gaucher’s disease can include anaemia, liver and kidney enlargement, and bone abnormalities. Bone abnormalities include joint pain, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
Other Gauchers disease symptoms include easy bruising and chronic fatigue. These are caused by low levels of blood platelets and haemoglobin. Patients with type 2 have an average lifespan of only a few years. Nevertheless, some may live into their 30s.
The earliest treatment may prevent or slow the progression of Gauchers disease. Having the diagnosis in early childhood may help to prevent further damage to your organs. Ultimately, there is no cure for this disease. However, there are effective treatments available that offer hope.
Those with a family history of Gaucher’s disease may want to consider undergoing genetic screening. Genetic screening can reveal if there is a mutation in the GBA gene, which causes the disease.
Gaucher’s disease is a genetic disorder that is caused by a gene mutation. It causes the body to lack an enzyme that breaks down fatty chemicals, also known as lipids. The resulting buildup can cause organ problems such as the liver and spleen.
If you or a loved one is suspected of having the disorder, your primary care provider will likely order tests. Your doctor will also look for cells in the blood that are affected by the disease. He or she may refer you to a haematologist or geneticist. These professionals can also prescribe you a drug. You may also want to speak to other Gaucher patients in your community.
People with type 3 Gaucher disease may suffer from slow, progressive neurological and brain disorders. They may also have symptoms such as seizures and bone abnormalities. Symptoms usually start around age 10.
Some people with type 3 disease will require treatment or medications. This could include a stem cell transplant. While this can help alleviate some symptoms, it is not always an effective treatment option.
Patients who have type 2 Gaucher disease have severe problems with swallowing and breathing. This condition can lead to pneumonia. In addition, it can cause a spleen that is too large. When this happens, it can destroy platelets.
To treat Gaucher, doctors may recommend enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). ERT is an IV drug that is delivered directly into the bloodstream. ERT is given in high doses every two weeks. As it works to break down fatty chemicals, it can relieve some of the symptoms. However, ERT is not as effective for type 3 disease.
Another treatment is a medication called miglustat. This is used in adults who have not received ERT. Miglustat reduces the amount of glucocerebroside in the body. Taking this medication can lead to weight loss.
Other medications, like alendronate, can rebuild weakened bones. Bisphosphonates can reduce the risk of bone fractures.
There are currently no known cures for Gaucher, but clinical trials are being carried out to determine the best ways to manage the disorder. Researchers at Yale are making efforts to research new treatments for the disease.
Research and development
Research and development for Gaucher’s disease are aimed at increasing public awareness about this rare metabolic disorder. It is a condition in which glucocerebrosidase, a protein that is important for fatty acid synthesis in the body, is defective. The accumulation of glucocerebroside in the liver, spleen and other organs causes various symptoms.
Genetic counselling is usually recommended to individuals who might be at risk for Gauchers disease. This is because it is difficult to diagnose an individual who has this disease because of the wide variation in severity between the different genotypes.
Research and development for Gaucher disease are also focused on the GBA gene, which is the key enzyme responsible for this disease. The deficiency of glucocerebrosidase causes the accumulation of harmful fats, which are stored in certain organs. In animal models, disruption of sphingolipid metabolism caused significant neuronal damage.
Currently, the treatment for Gauchers disease is enzyme replacement therapy. This treatment involves the infusion of a chemical that acts like glucocerebrosidase into the bloodstream. However, this treatment is not approved for mild to moderate Gaucher’s disease type 1.
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have discovered that the incidence of Parkinson’s disease is higher among patients with Gauchers disease. They have collaborated with international partners to investigate the relationship between the two diseases. A 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with a mutation of the GBA gene had a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Another important research area involves gene therapy. Timothy Cox’s research group has been working on developing gene therapy for Gaucher’s disease. His laboratory is focuses on improving the delivery of glucocerebrosidase to many tissues. He has also been involved in the development of a vaccine for Gauchers disease.
Several companies are also developing drug candidates for Gaucher disease. Some of these companies include Evotec, Sanofi, Cycle Pharma, Lysogene and AvroBio.
There are many potential clinical applications of glucosylceramide synthase inhibitors. Venglustat, a small molecule glucosylceramide synthase (GCase) inhibitor, is one such therapy.
Perinatal lethal form
Perinatal lethal Gaucher disease is a rare variant of type 2 Gaucher disease that occurs before birth and causes serious complications. The most prominent feature of perinatal lethal Gauchers disease is non-immune hydrops fetalis. This condition is associated with a 90% risk of death in utero. Other signs include liver and spleen enlargement, arthrogryposis, bone deformities, blood disorders, breathing difficulties, and neurological problems.
Type 2 Gaucher disease is usually fatal within a year of onset. It is also known as GD. Although GD is considered to be an autosomal recessive disease, there are a number of rare genetic mutations that can cause this disorder. Genetic testing can help diagnose the disorder, but it is not an accurate predictor of the disease’s severity.
Gaucher disease is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase (GBA). Typically, human beings have two copies of the GBA gene. However, there is a high frequency of rare genetic variations. Glucocerebrosidase accumulates in cells of the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
The symptoms of Gaucher disease vary from person to person. Some of the common signs include low haemoglobin and platelet counts, frequent bone fractures, arthritis, and fatigue. Others include abnormal eye movements and seizures. In some cases, heart valves may calcify, which can lead to aortic stenosis.
Several studies have been conducted to study the causes of Gaucher’s disease. These studies have identified three main types of the disease. Those types are type 1 (or Gaucher disease), type 2 (or GD), and type 3 (or GD3c). Each of these types is caused by a different genetic mutation.
Perinatal lethal Gauchers disease (GD) is a severe, fatal form of Gauchers disease found in very few individuals. Symptoms of GD are similar to those of other Gauchers diseases. GD usually affects a person’s spleen, liver, bones, and lungs, but other organs may also be affected.
Glucocerebrosidase is a lysosomal enzyme that breaks down glucosylceramide. It is found in the cells of the liver, spleen, bones, and lungs.
Gaucher disease – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
Gaucher’s disease – Wikipedia