I Want to Be a Mutant

I want to be a mutant. Oh, not like the X-Men although it might be cool to be Storm. I want to be a mutant because those are the people who respond the best to lampalizumab.

A friend emailed me an Associated Press piece entitled Drug shows progress against vision-robbing disease in seniors. Although this was the first time I have heard this, according to the article, ‘lamp stuff’ doesn’t do a bit better in people with the specific gene mutation, it does a LOT better!

I had heard that lampalizumab produced a 20% regression in lesion progression. That, folks, appears to be an average.

Those with the complement factor I risk allele actually had a 44% reduction in geographic atrophy progression. Wow!

To me, this is the first BIG indication genetic testing and AMD treatment have to be closely associated. I really do NOT want to be poked in the eye with a needle every month if the treatment won’t do any good. Likewise, I will be more amenable to said needle poking if I know I have the gene and I can slow my vision loss by nearly half. Not to mention how insurance companies would respond if they knew they could save money by eliminating non-responders from the pool.

Now, you need to remember all of the hard sciences are not my forte, but it seems to me complement factor I is a molecule that helps to trigger the action of the immune system. Remember all that stuff about whether or not AMD is an autoimmune disorder? It appears complement factor I is able to slow down some aspects of immunity that are running amok and attacking the good guys as well as the bad. Once again the theory appears to be our sight is being wiped out by friendly fire.

Musing here a moment, I have a very strong immune system. Never had mumps or chickenpox. Only had one form of the measles. In the 50s and 60s when I was small, kids got those things all of the time. Once more, I was the odd one. But what if my great immunity is not the result of a strength but actually of a weakness? To wit, I have an immune system with bad brakes. That is a thought. After vanquishing all the bad germs, it turned on itself. Put that with a strong family history of RA, another autoimmune disorder and it makes you wonder. Things that make you say Hmmmm….

Anyway, lampalizumab tightens loose brakes on immune reaction in those who have the complement factor I risk allele. It keeps the immune system from running wild and reduces the rate of damage about 44% in geographic atrophy.

I don’t believe the genetic testing we were given for trial measured the complement factor I risk allele. However, I should suspect changing the genes they highlight may not be that big a job. I also suspect making that adjustment would be a big moneymaker (This is America, after all).

So, next we should probably all find out if we are mutants. I have dibs on being Storm. Who wants to be Wolverine or Charles Xavier? [Can I be Wolverine? Love what he does with his nails!]

Next: coming soon!

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