Enzyme Treatment For Rare Genetic Disease Now Made From Corn

Enzyme Treatment For Rare Genetic Disease Now Made From Corn

By Shinji Tutoru

SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA. An ongoing study claims that corns that have been grown in greenhouses produce seeds could actually help treat lysosomal storage disease which is a rare and life-threatening genetic disease. The study focuses on developing alpha-L-iduronidase which is an enzyme used to treat the lysosomal storage disease.

Right now, this genetic disease is considered as a progressive multisystem disorder which falls under the Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I disease category. Anything under this category refers to inherited diseases which in most cases, causes untreated patients to die during early childhood because it causes rapid damage to all the organs of the patient’s body. There are more than 70 different kinds of lysosomal storage diseases and currently, the enzyme treatments are available for only six.

For more than a decade now, biologist Allison Kermode and her team of researchers at the Simon Fraser University have been working on developing enzyme therapeutics for lysosomal storage diseases. The enzymes that are being used to treat the disease are very expensive. The amount needed ranges from $300,000 to $500,000 per year for children. Of course, the cost is relatively even higher for adults.

Although the team of researchers were able to produce alpha-L-iduronidase from greenhouse-grown corns, it is still too early to jump into conclusions. There are some more tests to be done before it can be officially announced.

Invention Alpha-L-iduronidase From Greenhouse-Grown Corns
Organization Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada
Researcher Allison Kermode & Team
Field(s) Lysosomal Storage Disease, Alpha-L-iduronidase, Multisystem Disorder, Mucopolysaccharide, Maize, Genetics
Further Information e! Science News

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