Inspired by a patient's mother
Kim K, Kleinman HK, Lee HJ, Pahan K. Safety and potential efficacy of gemfibrozil as a supportive treatment for children with late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis and other lipid storage disorders. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2017;12(1):113. Published 2017 Jun 17. doi:10.1186/s13023-017-0663-8
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL), also known as Batten disease, is a group of genetically distinct lysosomal disorders that mainly affect the central nervous system, resulting in progressive motor and cognitive decline primarily in children. Multiple distinct genes involved in the metabolism of lipids have been identified to date with various mutations in this family of diseases. There is no cure for these diseases but some new therapeutic approaches have been tested that offer more hope than the standard palliative care. Many of the therapeutic advances require invasive procedures but some progress in slowing the disease has been found and more options can be expected in the future. We also review the literature on children with disease/conditions other than NCL for the non-invasive use, safety, and tolerability of a lipid-lowering drug, gemfibrozil, as a potential treatment for NCLs. Gemfibrozil has shown efficacy in an animal model of NCL known as CLN2 (late infantile classic juvenile) and has been shown to be safe for lowering lipids in children. Among the 200 non-NCL children found in the published literature who were treated with gemfibrozil for NCL-related problems, only 3 experienced adverse events, including 2 with muscle pain and 1 with localized linear IgA bullous dermatitis. We conclude that gemfibrozil is safe for long-term use in children, causes minimal adverse events, is well tolerated, and may delay the progression of NCLs. Gemfibrozil may potentially be an alternative to more invasive therapeutic approaches currently under investigation and has the potential to be used in combination with other therapeutic approaches.
Ghosh A, Rangasamy SB, Modi KK, Pahan K. Gemfibrozil, food and drug administration-approved lipid-lowering drug, increases longevity in mouse model of late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. J Neurochem. 2017;141(3):423-435. doi:10.1111/jnc.13987
Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (LINCL) is a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the Cln2 gene that leads to deficiency or loss of function of the tripeptidyl peptidase 1 (TPP1) enzyme. TPP1 deficiency is known to cause the accumulation of autofluoroscent lipid-protein pigments in brain. Similar to other neurodegenerative disorders, LINCL is also associated with neuroinflammation and neuronal damage. Despite investigations, no effective therapy is currently available for LINCL. Therefore, we administered gemfibrozil (gem), an food and drug administration (FDA)-approved lipid-lowering drug, which has been shown to stimulate lysosomal biogenesis and induce anti-inflammation, orally, at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg body wt/day to Cln2(-/-) mice. We observed that gem-fed Cln2(-/-) mice lived longer by more than 10 weeks and had better motor activity compared to vehicle (0.1% Methyl cellulose) treatment. Gem treatment lowered the burden of storage materials, increased anti-inflammatory factors like SOCS3 and IL-1Ra, up-regulated anti-apoptotic molecule like phospho-Bad, and reduced neuronal apoptosis in the brain of Cln2(-/-) mice. Collectively, this study reinforces a neuroprotective role of gem that may be of therapeutic interest in improving the quality of life in LINCL patients.