Long-term cognitive and somatic outcomes of enzyme replacement therapy in untransplanted Hurler syndrome

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Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) was added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for newborn screening in 2016, highlighting recognition that early treatment of MPS I is critical to stem progressive, irreversible disease manifestations. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is an approved treatment for all MPS I phenotypes, but because the severe form (MPS IH, Hurler syndrome) involves rapid neurocognitive decline, the impermeable blood-brain-barrier is considered an obstacle for ERT. Instead, hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has long been recommended, as it is believed to be the only therapy that arrests neurocognitive decline. Yet ERT monotherapy has never been compared to HCT, because it is unethically unacceptable to evaluate a therapeutic alternative to one shown to treat Central Nervous System (CNS) disease. An unusual opportunity to address this question is presented with this clinical report of a 16-year-old female with MPS IH treated only with ERT since her diagnosis at age 2. Neurological functioning was stable until cervical spinal cord compression at age 8, hydrocephalus at age 11, and neurocognitive declines beginning at age 10. Somatic disease burden is significant for first degree AV block, restrictive lung disease, bilateral hearing loss, severe corneal clouding, joint pain/limitations requiring mobility assistance, and short stature. This patient's extended survival and prolonged intact neurocognitive functioning depart from the untreated natural history of MPS IH. Disease burden typically controlled by HCT emerged. Although not anticipated to provide benefit for CNS disease, ERT may have provided some amelioration or slowing of neurocognitive deterioration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Clinical and Translational Science Institute grant support ( UL1TR000114 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors


  • Cognitive decline
  • Enzyme replacement therapy
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis
  • Newborn screening


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