Rare Disease Day: Nutricia behind people worldwide with Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Nutricia will join hundreds of organizations around the world on February 28 to recognize Rare Disease Day and take this opportunity to shed the light on people worldwide with Inborn Errors of Metabolism and show its support to ensure these individuals live their lives beyond their disease.
Collectively there are more than 300 million people living with a rare disease worldwide, rare diseases include IEMs, also called Inborn Errors of Metabolism1. IEMs are a group of over 500 rare disorders caused by genetic defects that affect the body’s ability to break down particular food nutrients, including protein or carbohydrates. IEMs are inherited, most often via both parents, and some of them are detected shortly after birth by newborn screening. In most cases, these conditions require lifelong management through a modified diet and supplementation with specialized medical nutrition.
Importance of innovative products and services meetings these patients’ special nutritional needs
For around fifty of the known IEMs, management is through a lifelong commitment to a restricted diet to avoid developing serious physical and mental disabilities, and they often rely on medical nutrition for the entirety of their life. It is important these patients get innovative products but also services that meet their special nutritional needs so they can grow and thrive. PKU patients for example must stick to a low-protein diet, alongside supplementation of the essential and non-essential amino acids that our bodies need to function properly.
Improve the early prognosis of affected infants and children
Early diagnosis of IEMs is a prerequisite for effective treatment. Since 1997, Nutricia has supported the availability and regular updates of the famous ‘Vademecum Metabolicum’, a Metabolic handbook to help healthcare professionals diagnose and manage patients with rare metabolic diseases. The goal is to constantly raise awareness for rare metabolic disorders, help to make early diagnosis and decide for the right treatment to ultimately improve the prognosis of affected infants and children.
Supporting ongoing education in the IEM community
Continuing education for metabolic health care providers is core to our mission. With in-person events cancelled due to COVID, Nutricia launched “Nutricia Metabolics Virtual Campus” a dedicated website to deliver unique educational offerings, ranging from a webinar on the role of the microbiome in infants with IEMs to a round table discussion on using social media to connect with patients.
- Nguengang Wakap, S., Lambert, D.M., Olry, A. et al. Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database. Eur J Hum Genet 28, 165–173 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41431-019-0508-0