The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses program: A translational research experience in Argentina
Oller de Ramirez, A.M.
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Background: The Argentinean programwas initiatedmore than a decade ago as the first experience of systematic translational research focused on NCL in Latin America. The aim was to overcome misdiagnoses and underdiagnoses in the region. Subjects: 216 NCL suspected individuals from 8 different countries and their direct family members. Methods: Clinical assessment, enzyme testing, electron microscopy, and DNA screening. Results and discussion: 1) The study confirmed NCL disease in 122 subjects. Phenotypic studies comprised epileptic seizures and movement disorders, ophthalmology, neurophysiology, image analysis, rating scales, enzyme testing, and electron microscopy, carried out under a consensus algorithm; 2) DNA screening and validation of mutations in genes PPT1 (CLN1), TPP1 (CLN2), CLN3, CLN5, CLN6, MFSD8 (CLN7), and CLN8: characterization of variant types, novel/knownmutations and polymorphisms; 3) Progress of the epidemiological picture in Latin America; and 4) NCL-like pathology studies in progress. The Translational Research Program was highly efficient in addressing the misdiagnosis/underdiagnosis in the NCL disorders. The study of “orphan diseases” in a public administrated hospital should be adopted by the health systems, as it positively impacts upon the family's quality of life, the collection of epidemiological data, and triggers research advances. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: “Current Research on the Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (Batten Disease)”
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