, Volume 67, Issue 18, pp 2697–2716 | Cite as

Treatment of Lysosomal Storage Disorders

Progress with Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Marianne Rohrbach
  • Joe T. R. Clarke
Review Article


Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) as treatment for lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) was suggested as long ago as 1966 by De Duve and Wattiaux. However, it took >35 years to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of ERT for type 1 Gaucher’s disease. An important breakthrough was certainly the enactment of legislation in the US, designed to encourage commercialisation of products developed in academic institutions for pharmaceutical companies to invest in treatments for rare diseases. The principles elaborated in the development of the treatment of Gaucher’s disease were subsequently applied to the development of ERT of other LSDs. The safety and effectiveness of ERT for Fabry’s disease, mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) I, MPS II and MPS VI, as well as for Pompe’s disease have been demonstrated in well designed clinical trials, and the treatments are now commercially available throughout the world. Several questions remain to be answered. The long-term effectiveness of most of the treatments has not yet been established. What is reversible by ERT and what may not be reversible but is preventable, is not yet clear. The pathology in some tissues, such as the brain, is inaccessible to ERT, indicating that some manifestations of the LSD will not respond to the treatment. The extent of this problem is still unclear. The cost of ERT is very high, creating problems for third-party payers, which has strained reimbursement schemes based on the demonstration of acceptable cost effectiveness. ERT of LSDs represents the most important advance in the treatment of this class of diseases. The information that is currently being collected as part of large-scale observational studies will help to establish the full potential of the treatment.


Enzyme Replacement Therapy Miglustat Alglucerase Substrate Reduction Therapy Imiglucerase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Dr Clarke has received research grants, unrestricted educational grants and honoraria for scientific and continuing medical education presentations regarding the management of lysosomal storage diseases from Genzyme Corporation, Genzyme Canada, Shire Human Genetic Therapies and Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Canada. He also receives honoraria for service on advisory boards sponsored by the same companies regarding the management of lysosomal storage diseases. Dr Rohrbach has no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review. No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Clinical and Metabolic GeneticsHospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Service de Génétique MédicaleCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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