The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to the experimental drug Lenti-D, which is being produced by the gene therapy company Bluebird bio to treat cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy. The full article can be read here, at the North Carolina Biotechnology Centre website.
Cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CALD) is a genetic condition that usually affects boys. A variation to the ABCD1 gene causes very long chain fatty acids to build up to harmful levels, resulting in the breakdown of the myelin sheath that protects nerves. For patients with CALD, this damage tends to occur in the brain, which results in a progressive loss of physical and neurological function. The condition is also frequently associated with adrenal insufficiency, which can cause weakness, nausea, tiredness, and pain. There is not currently a treatment that is able to reverse the effects of CALD, but certain medicines can often reduce the symptoms. Doctors may offer patients treatments for relaxing muscles, treating infections, and epilepsy. Some patients may also be given the option of stem cell transplants. There is also on-going research into gene therapies that could provide better treatment options in the future.