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Update on the clinical management of Wilson's disease

Authors Hedera P

Received 13 September 2016

Accepted for publication 19 December 2016

Published 13 January 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 9—19

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TACG.S79121

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Martin H. Maurer


Peter Hedera

Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA

Abstract: Wilson’s disease (WD), albeit relatively rare, is an important genetic metabolic disease because of highly effective therapies that can be lifesaving. It is a great imitator and requires a high index of suspicion for correct and timely diagnosis. Neurologic, psychiatric and hepatologic problems in WD are very nonspecific, and we discuss the most common clinical phenotypes. The diagnosis remains laboratory based, and here we review the most important challenges and pitfalls in laboratory evaluation of WD, including the emerging role of genetic testing in WD diagnosis. WD is a monogenic disorder but has very high allelic heterogeneity with >500 disease-causing mutations identified, and new insights into phenotype–genotype correlations are also reviewed. The gold standard of therapy is chelation of excessive copper, but many unmet needs exist because of possible clinical deterioration in treated patients and potential adverse effects associated with currently available chelating medications. We also review the most promising novel therapeutic approaches, including chelators targeting specific cell types, cell transplantation and gene therapy.

Keywords: Wilson’s disease, copper, ATP7B, chelation, gene therapy

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