2010 AMDA Research Grant Awarded to Dr. Andrea Amalfitano
Posted on: January 01, 2011
In 2010 the AMDA solicited grant applications from researchers around the world. After careful consideration and consultation with our Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Amalfitano of Michigan State University was selected as the recipient of the First Annual AMDA Research Grant for his proposal concerning gene therapy for Pompe Disease. This grant was made possible by the fundraising efforts of Rod and Carrie Barriger.
Abstract of Dr. Amalfitano’s proposal: Acid Maltase Deficiency (AMD, also known as Pompe Disease), is due to a patient’s inability to produce enough acid alpha glucosidase (GAA). This results in glycogen accumulation in the patient’s limb muscles, as well as cardiac muscles (in those patients affected by the early age onset (infantile) form of the disease). Based upon published results using animal models, intravenous infusion of recombinant rhGAA (Myozyme® or Lumizyme®) at current doses is not adequate to provide maximal improvement to so-treated AMD/Pompe patients. However, current production methods for recombinant proteins such as GAA may not be capable of producing enough GAA enzyme to support higher and more frequent dosing. Our multiple, previously published studies confirm that a single “Gene Therapy” treatment of most AMD/Pompe patients can potentially overcome this problem, by allowing for high level production of GAA from the livers of AMD/Pompe patients for a continuous period of time (24 hours a day), for >1 year in some of our studies. We propose to now confirm these promising results in larger animal models of AMD/Pompe , so that we can both determine the safety and potential effectiveness of gene therapy for AMD/Pompe in future human trials. The results will power future expanded studies in large animal models, as well help justify human clinical trials in patients affected by AMD/Pompe.