The Rare Disease Report Podcast: Fabry Disease


Eric Wallace, MD, discusses Anderson-Fabry disease and the difficulties associated with screening, testing, and treatment.

Quick Facts about Fabry Disease

  • Occurs in ~1 in 10,000 individuals, according to recent newborn screening studies
  • Caused by a mutation of the α-galactosidase A (GLA) gene
  • Can affect major organs, such as the kidney, heart, brain, and skin
  • Average age of diagnosis is 35 years old
  • Classic type: Symptoms appear at early age; worsens with age progression
  • Late-onset: Symptoms don't present until age 30 or older
  • Males are typically more severely affected than females
  • Main treatment options include enzyme replacement therapy and oral chaperone therapy; no cure exists

Quotes of Interest

It doesn't spare anybody — as far as race.
It's getting to the point where we really are running out of excuses [...] that we should not test.
There are still unmet needs as it relates to cardiac outcomes and CNS outcomes.
One of the great things is that there's a lot of research. One of the problems with a lot of research going on all at once is that there's a limited amount of patients.
If you are already working with patients with Fabry disease, you need to know that the field is changing very very quickly.

“Imagine every cell in your body has this buildup of trash that has been building up since birth,” explained nephrologist Eric Wallace, MD, Director of Telehealth, University of Alabama at Birmingham, in regard to Anderson-Fabry disease.

“Well, now, later on in life, the organs don’t work as well,” he continued.

Resulting from mutations of the α-galactosidase A (GLA) gene, Fabry disease is marked by the impairment of lysosome function. As a result, particular compounds and intracellular structures are unable to be digested or be broken down.

The big-picture result of this disorder is pain as well as potential nephrological, cardiological, neurological, and dermatological complications.

As a multisystemic disorder, Fabry can increase risk for an enlarged heart, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, gastrointestinal involvement, angiokeratomas—to name just a few symptoms.

In this episode of the Rare Disease Report podcast, Wallace discussed the cause of Fabry disease, which populations or types of patients are most likely to be diagnosed with the genetic disorder, current screening methods and gaps, and any ongoing research.

He provided essential perspective as a nephrologist with hands-on experience working with such patients.

Wallace has advocated for a stronger focus on maintaining and treating kidney health, thus calling for ensuring regular monitoring as part of the standard of care among Fabry patients.

HCPLive® and Rare Disease Report® are proud to present the second installment of a new podcast series that will provide a platform for experts and advocates to share their knowledge, tell their story, and augment the discussion surrounding diseases that have—for too long—fallen beneath the radar.

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