The use of biomarkers can provide valuable insight into the molecular pathogenesis of lysosomal storage diseases such as Gaucher disease and Fabry disease. Dr. Pramod Mistry discusses biomarkers as they pertain to patients with type 1 Gaucher disease.
In Gaucher disease, deficient activity of acid β-glucosidase results in accumulation of its substrates, glucosylceramide and glucosylsphingosine, within the lysosomes of cells primarily in the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and occasionally the lung. The multisystem disease is predominantly characterized by hepatosplenomegaly, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and skeletal disease. Enzyme replacement therapy with recombinant human acid β-glucosidase has been the first-line therapy for Gaucher disease type 1 for more than two decades. Eliglustat, a novel oral substrate reduction therapy, was recently approved in the United States and the European Union as a first-line treatment for adults with Gaucher disease type 1. Eliglustat inhibits glucosylceramide synthase, thereby decreasing production of the substrate glucosylceramide and reducing its accumulation. Although existing recommendations for the care of patients with Gaucher disease remain in effect, unique characteristics of eliglustat require additional investigation and monitoring. A panel of physicians with expertise in Gaucher disease and experience with eliglustat in the clinical trials provide guidance regarding the use of eliglustat, including considerations before starting therapy and monitoring of patients on eliglustat therapy.