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Efficacy of enzyme replacement therapy in Fabry disease.

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.


Enzyme replacement therapy has recently been introduced to treat Fabry disease, a rare X-linked lysosomal storage disorder. The disease occurs due to deficient activity of alpha-galactosidase A, leading to progressive accumulation of globotriaosylceramide in multiple organs and tissues. Renal, cardiac and cerebrovascular manifestations of the disease result in premature death in both hemizygous males and heterozygous females. This paper outlines the clinical signs, symptoms and diagnosis of Fabry disease, and the development of the two available enzyme replacement therapies -- agalsidase alfa and agalsidase beta. Agalsidase alfa and agalsidase beta are produced in a human cell line and in Chinese hamster ovary cells, respectively, resulting in products with the same amino acid sequence as the native human enzyme, but with different patterns of glycosylation. Correct post-translational glycosylation is important in terms of the pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, clinical efficacy and tolerability of genetically engineered protein therapeutics. Differences in glycosylation, which may affect immunogenicity and mannose-6-phosphate receptor-mediated cellular internalisation of administered enzyme, possibly account for the differences in dosing, clinical effects and safety profiles reported for agalsidase alfa and agalsidase beta.

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