January 1, 2021

January 2021: Is newborn screening for metachromatic leukodystrophy coming soon?

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While newborn screening is gradually expanding in many states in the U.S. and other countries to include some members of a class of diseases known as lysosomal storage diseases (LSD), there has yet to be a screening test available for one LSD called metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). MLD is a rare neurogenetic condition that is often fatal and there is currently no widely available approved treatment. However, there are a number of promising therapies under development in ongoing clinical trials. Michael H. Gelb, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Washington, recently turned his attention to developing a newborn screening test for MLD, which he discusses on this month’s GenePod. Based on the results of more than 27,000 newborns screened for this study, Dr. Gelb believes that a newborn screening test for MLD, upon completion of a second unblinded prospective study, could soon become part of the Federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. Tune in!