About four million people are affected by rare diseases in Germany and 30 million in the EU. In 2013, a national action plan for people with rare diseases was adopted in Germany which is also aimed at improving the information situation and better gathering of information for affected patients and their families. Since then, various sources of information and medical care structures have been made available. The aim of this study was to evaluate the state of knowledge about information sources and health care centres for rare diseases among those affected. For more information click here.
Buschke-Ollendorff syndrome (BOS) is a rare genetic hereditary genodermatosis characterized by benign skeletal and cutaneous lesions. Skeletal alterations known as osteopoikilosis (OPK) or “spotted bone disease” are asymptomatic areas of sclerosing dysplasia. Two skin lesion patterns have been described because they may be of either elastic tissue (juvenile elastoma) or collagenous composition (dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata). We present the case of a 6-year-old male patient with yellowish papules that coalesced to form plaques localized on both thighs and on the upper limbs consistent with a connective tissue nevus (CTN) diagnosis. For more information click here.
In the context of COVID-19 pandemic and launching of the ‘COVID-19 Clinical Management Support System’, DG SANTE is organising a series of webinars to support clinicians and other healthcare professionals at the frontline who treat the patients with COVID-19. We would like to invite you and any other colleague or healthcare professional of your hospital that might be interested, to the webinar: “ Cancer and COVID-19: current and future challenges” that will take place on Thursday 28 May, from 10:00 – 11:00 CET. It will feature Stella Kyriakides, Matthias Schuppe and many others. For more information click here.
Recent genome-wide analyses of rare and common sequence variations have brought greater clarity to the genetic architecture of pulmonary arterial hypertension and implicated novel genes in disease development. Transcriptional signatures have been reported in whole lung tissue, pulmonary vascular cells and peripheral circulating cells. High-throughput platforms for plasma proteomics and metabolomics have identified novel biomarkers associated with clinical outcomes and provided molecular instruments for risk assessment. There are methodological challenges to integrating these datasets, coupled to statistical power limitations inherent to the study of a rare disease, but the expectation is that this approach will reveal novel druggable targets and biomarkers that will open the way to personalized medicine. Here, we review the current state-of-the-art and future promise of ‘omics’ in the field of translational medicine in pulmonary arterial hypertension. For more information click here.
Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is a rare histiocytosis that was recently recognized as a neoplastic disorder owing to the discovery of recurrent activating MAP-kinase (RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK) pathway mutations. Typical findings of ECD include central diabetes insipidus, restrictive pericarditis, perinephric fibrosis, and sclerotic bone lesions. The histopathologic diagnosis of ECD is often challenging due to non-specific inflammatory and fibrotic findings on histopathologic review of tissue specimens. Additionally, the association of ECD with unusual tissue tropism and an insidious onset often results in diagnostic errors and delays. Most patients with ECD require treatment, except for a minority of patients with minimally symptomatic single-organ disease. The first ECD consensus guidelines were published in 2014 on behalf of the physicians and researchers within the Erdheim-Chester Disease Global Alliance. With the recent molecular discoveries and the approval of the first targeted therapy (vemurafenib) for BRAF-V600-mutant ECD, there is a need for updated clinical practice guidelines to optimize the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. This document presents consensus recommendations that resulted from the International Medical Symposia on ECD in 2017 and 2019. For more information click here.
Mastocytosis is a rare disease with varied presentation, myriad symptomatology and variable prognosis. Most patients present with cutaneous disease and mediator-related symptomatology with a small subset having systemic disease (systemic mastocytosis, SM). A subset of the latter develops synchronous or metachronous haematologic neoplasms (SM-AHN), most commonly chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML). Advanced systemic mastocytosis (ASM) is seen in a relatively small number of patients and is usually associated with organ dysfunction, and may present with hepatosplenomegaly, lymphadenopathy and ascites with progression to leukaemic transformation (mast cell leukaemia/acute myeloid leukaemia) occurring in a few patients. This paper discusses the clinical and pathologic features of the entire spectrum of SM in adults. For more information click here.
Deletion of dystrobrevin binding protein 1 has been linked to Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 7 (HPS-7), a rare disease characterized by oculocutaneous albinism and retinal dysfunction. We studied dysbindin-1 null mutant mice (Dys-/-) to shed light on retinal neurodevelopment defects in HPS-7. We analyzed the expression of a focused set of miRNAs in retina of wild type (WT), Dys+/- and Dys-/- mice. We also investigated the retinal function of these mice through electroretinography (ERG). We found that miR-101-3p, miR-137, miR-186-5p, miR-326, miR-382-5p and miR-876-5p were up-regulated in Dys-/-mice retina. Dys-/- mice showed significant increased b-wave in ERG, compared to WT mice. Bioinformatic analysis highlighted that dysregulated miRNAs target synaptic plasticity and dopaminergic signaling pathways, affecting retinal functions of Dys-/- mice. Overall, the data indicate potential mechanisms in retinal neurodevelopment of Dys-/- mice, which may have translational significance in HSP-7 patients, both in terms of diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers and novel pharmacological targets. For more information click here.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) with respiratory distress type 1 (SMARD1) is an autosomal recessive motor neuron disease that is characterized by distal and proximal muscle weakness and diaphragmatic palsy that leads to respiratory distress. Without intervention, infants with the severe form of the disease die before 2 years of age. SMARD1 is caused by mutations in the IGHMBP2 gene that determine a deficiency in the encoded IGHMBP2 protein, which plays a critical role in motor neuron survival because of its functions in mRNA processing and maturation. Although it is rare, SMARD1 is the second most common motor neuron disease of infancy, and currently, treatment is primarily supportive. No effective therapy is available for this devastating disease, although multidisciplinary care has been an essential element of the improved quality of life and life span extension in these patients in recent years. The objectives of this review are to discuss the current understanding of SMARD1 through a summary of the presently known information regarding its clinical presentation and pathogenesis and to discuss emerging therapeutic approaches. For more information click here.
Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in NPC1 or NPC2 genes. In 2009, the molecular characterization of 44 NPC Italian patients has been published. Here, we present an update of the genetic findings in 105 Italian NPC patients belonging to 83 unrelated families (77 NPC1 and 6 NPC2). NPC1 and NPC2 genes were studied following an algorithm recently published. Eighty-four different NPC1 and five NPC2 alleles were identified. Only two NPC1 alleles remained non detected. Sixty-two percent of NPC1 alleles were due to missense variants. The most frequent NPC1 mutation was the p.F284Lfs*26 (5.8% of the alleles). All NPC2 mutations were found in the homozygous state, and all but one was severe. Among newly diagnosed patients, 18 novel NPC1 mutations were identified. For more information click here.
In the context of COVID-19 pandemic and launching of the ‘COVID-19 Clinical Management Support System’, DG SANTE is organising a series of webinars to support clinicians and other healthcare professionals at the frontline who treat the patients with COVID-19. We would like to invite you and any other colleague or healthcare professional of your hospital that might be interested, to the 6th Webinar: “COVID-19: Endocrine conditions with increased risk” that will take place on Tuesday 12 May, from 18:00 to 19:00. It will feature Prof. Alberto Pereira, Prof. Elco de Koning and Prof. Wiebke Arlt. For more information click here.