Dr J C Pompe

Dr J C Pompe
Discoverer of Pompe disease

About this blog

What you can read here is the story of the development of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), the first effective treatment for Pompe disease. It is an incredible story, rich with events, characters and science. Above all, it is the story of an international community of scientists, doctors, patients and companies, working together towards a common goal.

It is not a story that features in Geeta Anand's book, The Cure , or the film based on it, Extraordinary Measures despite the fact that they are ostensibly about the development of ERT for Pompe ( you can link straight to the relevant articles covering the events described in the book and film here, here and here).

This blog represents my small attempt to set the record straight and to give the story back to its rightful owners - the international Pompe community. It is written here in roughly chronological order i.e. you'll need to start at the bottom of the April 2009 archive page and work your way up.

It is also a personal account and, although I've tried to make it as objective as possible, there is an inevitable degree of subjectivity. For that reason I have included contributions from other members of the worldwide Pompe community and would be delighted to receive more. Feedback is also welcome.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

One last twist in the tale

Well, here's a story that I wasn't expecting to have to write. If you've followed the Pompe story through this blog (and if not, why not?), then you'll know that there have been occasional patches of...murkiness. Times when things have happened that the reader may have had to stretch to see in a good, or even neutral, light.

Nearly all of those have been concerned with commercial interests and, well, I think you kind of expect it from that quarter, where the bottom line reigns supreme. At least, I thought, the same could not be said of the world of academic science. A world where truth and objectivity were tirelessly in the service of the scientific ideal. You know, the good guys.

Turns out, I was wrong. There are significant errors - errors which are difficult to explain - in the original publication of the ERT trial results from Duke University, one of the most important publications in the development of ERT.

The publication in question is:
Recombinant human acid a-glucosidase enzyme
therapy for infantile glycogen storage disease
type II: Results of a phase I/II clinical trial
Amalfitano et al Genetics in Medicine, 2001:3(2):132–138.

The full text is available online.

Over the next few posts, I will spell out exactly what the issue is, why it matters and what I think should be done.

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