Family feedback from WORLDSymposium 2021!

Dear Dr. Whitley and WORLDSymposium team,

I wanted to share some lovely feedback with you all regarding the ability for families to attend the meeting virtually this year free of charge … though we’d all prefer to be together in person, this is such a great opportunity to learn how we can increase access for patients and families to the amazing science routinely shared at the WORLDSymposium. Thanks for all you do!”
(Cara O’Neill, Chief Science Officer Cure Sanfilippo Foundation)

What Patient/Families have to say:

  • This is great and actually really helpful for international families to be able to listen in vs the normal cost of having to fly to the US. Hope they keep a virtual attendee option in future for patients and families at least.
  • Amazing opportunity for international patients/families.
  • … it’s not just the cost but also the practicality of leaving a child/ children behind (including those with challenges such as Sanfilippo to attend – we needed to be away for 5 days at least from the UK to be able to see the core conference material).  It wasn’t something I would choose to do ideally…We felt it was an essential thing to do as a newly diagnosed family considering trial options to get access to the latest information and ask questions directly to experts in poster sessions. It was invaluable for us.
  • We are in Australia. I have 2 children with attenuated Sanfilippo type A (as well as a newborn). Attending would be a near impossibility for our family. Both the cost and difficulty travelling that far (13 hours just to get to LAX). 
  • I am very grateful indeed for the free registration for family members! We live in Spain and it would have been almost impossible for us to attend the congress otherwise.”

Cure Sanfilippo Foundation now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) for innovative research into Sanfilippo syndrome (MPS III)

Cure Sanfilippo Foundation seeks to support research that fills critical gaps in current knowledge across basic science, clinical care, and translational therapeutics which will ultimately improve the lives of children with Sanfilippo syndrome. Scientist-clinician-patient collaborations are highly encouraged. The Foundation is available to assist in facilitating connections with patients/caregivers to inform projects as needed. 

Sanfilippo syndrome (MPS III) is a multisystem metabolic disease with prominent neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative consequences for affected children. There are currently no treatment options available for this terminal condition but we are working hard with the scientific community to change that! 

Deadline to Apply: Submit your Letter of Intent (LOI) using the downloadable form to:,

For more information on this current funding opportunity and LOI form, we invite you to visit us at:

For additional questions, contact 

Gaucher patients in Spain turn to home-based infusions to avoid COVID-19 exposure

Recent research in Spain suggests that home-based infusion may be necessary to minimize patient exposure to COVID-19 in the clinic. The full text of the article, as published in the journal Blood Cells, Molecules & Diseases , is available here.

National Gaucher Foundation shares COVID-19 tips, precautions, and more …

The National Gaucher foundation has provided COVID-19 tips, precautions, and a COVID-19 glossary as well as other resources, on their website for Gaucher patients and families.

FSIG provides online application to assist in patient care during COVID-19 crisis

The Fabry Support & Information Group (FSIG) features an Appointment Companion portal on its website – to help patients remotely inform Fabry care teams during the COVID-19 crisis about their treatment goals and challenges, browse clinical trials, and compare treatment centers. 

RDCRN to expand

On Oct. 3, 2019, NIH announced awards to expand the RDCRN.

The RDCRN is designed to advance medical research on rare diseases by providing support for clinical studies and facilitating collaboration, study enrollment and data sharing.

Currently, the RDCRN consists of 20 distinct clinical research consortia and a Data Management and Coordinating Center (DMCC). Each consortium focuses on at least three related rare diseases, participates in multisite studies and actively involves patient advocacy groups as research partners. The DMCC enables uniform high-quality data collection and analysis and facilitates information sharing across the network. This robust data source helps scientists better understand the common elements of rare diseases so they may apply that knowledge to improving diagnosis and treatment for these conditions.

Lysosomal Disorders Network headed by Chester B. Whitley, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis was the recipient of one of the awards.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.

Progress Towards Clinical Trial for Treatment of MPS IIIC

U.S.-based biotechnology company Phoenix Nest, Inc. has signed a license agreement with the University of Manchester in the U.K. to use the product of research conducted by Professor Brian Bigger’s laboratory at the University of Manchester, working in collaboration with Dr. Els Henckaerts’ laboratory at King’s College London. Dr. Bigger is Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy at the University of Manchester. Dr. Henckaerts is Lecturer in the Department of Infectious Diseases at King’s College London. Phoenix Nest, Inc. plans to take the licensed research product to clinical trial for patients with Sanfilippo syndrome type C (MPS IIIC). This license agreement is an important early step on the long journey to an FDA-approved clinical trial of this gene therapy.

The research product which has been licensed by Phoenix Nest, Inc. is based on the discovery of a novel adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) with an altered protein coat, which appears to make the virus work better within the brain. This new vector, called AAV-TT (AAV-true type), has been altered to efficiently deliver the missing HGSNAT gene to the brain to treat MPS IIIC. Comprising an international group of scientists, the research teams concluded that they had demonstrated complete behavioral and brain correction of Sanfilippo syndrome type C in mice. Dr. Bigger said, “This gene therapy technology, recently published in the journal Brain, will be used by Phoenix Nest to treat Sanfilippo syndrome type C.”

The Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation (in Australia), an LDN-associated patient advocacy group, was one of eight foundations who helped co-fund this research project. The other co-funding foundations included: Jonah’s Just Begun, another LDN-associated patient advocacy group; King’s College London Commercialization InstituteSanfilippo BarcelonaSanfilipo PortugalSanfilippo BrasilLe Combat de Haitem-Contre SanfilippoJLK Sanfilippo Research Foundation; and VML Foundation. Additional funding sources are listed near the end of the article in Brain.

Gene Therapy Clinical Trial for Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B (MPS IIIB) is Underway

Abeona Therapeutics, Inc. is enrolling individuals aged 6 months and older who have MPS IIIB and evidence of neurologic dysfunction in its Phase I/II non-randomized clinical trial of a one-time gene therapy with ABO-101. ABO-101 is Abeona’s designation for rAAV9.CMV.hNAGLU. The clinical trial is an open-label, dose-escalation trial of ABO-101 injected intravenously through a peripheral limb vein. Trial participants will receive a one-time intravenous injection of either high- or low-dose ABO-101. Researchers will then assess the treatment’s safety and effectiveness at six, 12, and 24 months after gene therapy administration. There are two clinic locations for this clinical trial: Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, USA; and Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago, in Santiago De Compostela, Spain.