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J Hepatol. 1994 Oct;21(4):610-7.

Glucocerebrosidase for treatment of Gaucher's disease: first German long-term results.

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Department of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Germany.


Until recently, there was no specific therapy available for patients with Gaucher's disease. Since April 1991 a highly purified human placental preparation of glucocerebrosidase (Ceredase, Genzyme) has been available for clinical studies in Germany. Sequential deglycosylation of the native enzyme yields a mannose-terminated preparation that may preferentially bind to the plasma membrane of macrophages. The present report analyzes the first German (and European) long-term results with glucocerebrosidase therapy in five patients with type I Gaucher's disease (four women and one man, aged 29-40 years). All patients suffered from excessive enlargement of the liver and spleen with subsequent pancytopenia and from skeletal complications. Multiple pathological fractures had already occurred in three of the five patients, requiring several surgical procedures. Fatigue and asthenia were present in all patients. The initial dose of glucocerebrosidase was chosen according to the severity of complications in the individual patient (20-50 U/kg given i.v. every 2nd week) and was performed in the five patients for 12-18 months. After a few weeks all patients reported that fatigue and asthenia were markedly reduced. After 12 months, blood counts of erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets had completely normalized in all but one of the patients. After 4-6 months a significant reduction in the sizes of liver and spleen could be observed in all patients. No further fractures occurred during treatment. Significant side-effects of glucocerebrosidase treatment did not occur. The new glucocerebrosidase preparation offers the first effective drug therapy for patients with Gaucher's disease. Although the treatment proved effective and harmless, it is, at least initially, very expensive.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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