Development of a bile acid–based newborn screen for Niemann-Pick disease type C

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Science Translational Medicine  04 May 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 337, pp. 337ra63
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf2326

Expanding the newborn screen

Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a fatal neurologic disorder caused by the deficiency of an enzyme involved in cholesterol storage. Although this disease was untreatable in the past, new therapeutics are now in clinical trials, but they are most likely to be effective if treatment is started as early as possible, before neurodegeneration has occurred. Jiang et al. identified three bile acids that are greatly increased in the blood of patients with NPC compared to healthy controls. The authors also demonstrated that one of these bile acids can be reliably measured in dried blood spots using mass spectrometry, suggesting that this bile acid test should be evaluated for potential addition to neonatal screening programs.

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