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      The European Gaucher Alliance: a survey of member patient organisations’ activities, healthcare environments and concerns

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          The European Gaucher Alliance (EGA) was established in 1994 and constituted in 2008 as an umbrella group supporting patient organisations for Gaucher disease. Every two years, the EGA conducts a questionnaire survey of member associations to help develop its priorities and annual work programme. Results of the latest survey are presented.


          Between June 2012 and April 2013, the 36 members and associate members of the EGA were asked to complete a questionnaire detailing membership numbers, disease specific treatments used by patients, means of access to treatment, availability of treatment centres and home infusions, sources of support for patients with Gaucher disease, patient organisations’ activities, collaborations, funding sources and any issues of concern. Questionnaires completed in 2012 were revised in January 2013 and responses analysed between July and September 2013.


          Thirty three members returned data on one or more questions. Findings identified inequalities in access to treatment both within and between members’ countries. Three of 27 countries, for which data were available, relied totally on humanitarian aid for treatment and 6% of untreated patients in 20 countries were untreated because of funding issues, a situation many feared would worsen with deteriorating economic climates. Access to treatment and reimbursement represented 45% of members’ concerns, while 35% related to access to specialist treatment centres, home infusions and doctors with expertise in Gaucher disease. Member associations’ main activities centred on patient support (59% of responses) and raising awareness of Gaucher disease and patients’ needs amongst the medical community, government and healthcare decision makers and the general public (34% of responses). Twenty one (78% of respondents) indicated they were the only source of help for Gaucher disease patients in their country. For many, activities were constrained by funds; two members had no external funding source. Activities were maximised through collaboration with other patient organisations and umbrella organisations for rare diseases.


          The survey provided a ‘snapshot’ of the situation for patients and families affected by Gaucher disease, helping the EGA direct its activities into areas of greatest need.

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          The Gaucher registry: demographics and disease characteristics of 1698 patients with Gaucher disease.

          The Gaucher Registry, the largest database of patients with Gaucher disease (GD) worldwide, was initiated to better delineate the progressive nature of the disorder and determine optimal therapy. This report describes the demographic and clinical characteristics of 1698 patients with GD before they received enzyme replacement therapy. Physicians worldwide who treat patients with GD were invited to submit prospective and retrospective data for an ongoing registry, using standardized data collection forms, for central processing and review. Most patients were from the United States (45%) and Israel (17%), but patients are from 38 countries. Most (94%) had type 1 GD, fewer than 1% had type 2, and 5% had type 3. Mutant allele frequency data, available for 45% of patients, showed the most common alleles to be N370S (53%), L444P (18%), 84GG (7%), and IVS2+1 (2%). Twenty-five percent of L444P homozygotes (13 of 52 patients) had type 1 GD phenotype. Mean age at diagnosis in patients with the N370S/N370S genotype was 27.2 years (SD, 19.7 years); in L444P/L444P patients, 2. 3 years (SD, 3.2 years). Histories of bone pain and radiological bone disease were reported by 63% and 94% of patients, respectively; both were more likely in asplenic patients than in patients with spleens. Mean spleen and liver volumes were 19.8 and 2.0 multiples of normal, respectively. Anemia and thrombocytopenia were present in 64% and 56%, respectively. Thrombocytopenia was present in 13% of asplenic patients. The Gaucher Registry permits a comprehensive understanding of the clinical spectrum of GD because of the uniquely large sample size. The Registry will be useful in evaluating the effects of specific therapies in GD and the possible influences of environment, ethnicity, and genotype on the natural history of the disorder.
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            The clinical and demographic characteristics of nonneuronopathic Gaucher disease in 887 children at diagnosis.

            To describe the clinical and demographic characteristics of nonneuronopathic Gaucher disease (GD) in children at the time of diagnosis. Longitudinal observational database of the International Collaborative Gaucher Group Gaucher Registry. Data reported to the Registry from January 1, 1989, to June 3, 2005, were included in this report.Patients/ All 887 patients were diagnosed as having nonneuronopathic GD from birth to younger than 18 years and did not receive enzyme replacement therapy. Eight measures of the clinical manifestations and demographics of nonneuronopathic GD. The most common signs and symptoms noted were splenomegaly (95%), hepatomegaly (87%), radiologic bone disease (81%), thrombocytopenia (50%), anemia (40%), growth retardation (34%), bone pain (27%), and bone crisis (9%). Anemia and more severe splenomegaly and hepatomegaly were observed more frequently in younger patients. Skeletal manifestations were found more often in older children. Only 23% were identified as Ashkenazi Jews. Nonneuronopathic GD commonly manifests in childhood and affects many ethnic groups. The high prevalence of rare mutations may be associated with earlier onset and/or more severe disease. Increased awareness of the clinical and demographic characteristics of nonneuronopathic GD in children may improve early recognition of this treatable lysosomal storage disorder, decrease morbidity, and prevent irreversible sequelae.
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              The incidence of Parkinsonism in patients with type 1 Gaucher disease: data from the ICGG Gaucher Registry.

              Investigate the incidence of Parkinsonism among patients with Gaucher disease type 1 (GD1) and describe demographics, genotypes, and Gaucher disease (GD)-related characteristics for affected and non-affected patients. Cohort study with age- and gender-matched nested case-control analysis. Calculation of event incidence, standardized morbidity ratio, and event-free survival (Kaplan-Meier). The International Collaborative Gaucher Group (ICGG) Gaucher Registry data as of June 2010. Study cohort: GD1 patients with any report of Parkinsonism. Pre-matching control group: All GD1 patients with no report of Parkinsonism. The matched study cohort comprised of 68 patients with reports of Parkinsonism and 649 patients without Parkinsonism. Demographic and clinical characteristics suggest a milder GD phenotype in patients with Parkinsonism compared to the control group. The most prevalent GD1 genotype was N370S/N370S (39% for controls; 46% for patients with Parkinsonism). Patients with Parkinsonism were diagnosed with GD1 at a mean age of 37 years compared to 31 years in control patients. The standardized morbidity ratio for the development of Parkinsonism among all GD1 patients indicated an approximately 6 to 17 fold increase over that of 2 reference populations. The mean age of reported Parkinsonism onset was 57 years compared to 60 years in the general population (Lees, Hardy, and Revesz, 2009 [1]). The probability that a patient with GD1 will develop Parkinsonism before age 70 years is 5 to 7% and 9 to 12% before age 80 years. The incidence of Parkinsonism among GD1 patients is significantly increased compared to two reference populations. GD1 patients with Parkinsonism have a later median age at GD diagnosis, later age at the start of treatment, and later age at death than patients with GD1 alone. The Gaucher-related clinical profile of GD1 patients with Parkinsonism is similar to or milder than the GD1 alone group. Therefore, severity of the common GD1 clinical manifestations does not appear to be predictive for the onset of Parkinsonism. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet J Rare Dis
                Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
                BioMed Central (London )
                2 September 2014
                2 September 2014
                : 9
                : 1
                European Gaucher Alliance, Evesham House Business Centre, 48-52 Silver Street, Dursley, Gloucestershire GL11 4ND UK
                © Žnidar et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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