The MPS Society has been funding cutting-edge research into MPS, Fabry and related diseases since its inception in 1982.
To this day, the MPS Society has spent over £12 million on research projects into these conditions, to find better treatments and care. Scientific breakthroughs and new technologies offer hope for diagnoses and treatments for those affected that was unimaginable a few years ago.
The sooner we can accelerate our research and take advantage of these opportunities, the quicker we can help even more people affected by MPS, Fabry or a related lysosomal disease.
We invite research applications on the theme of psychological wellbeing
The MPS Society is inviting grants for scientific or clinical research into LSD or related conditions. Following a review of its patient support, in this round of grants the society is particularly interested in receiving applications that support and/or improve the psychological wellbeing of those impacted by LSD or related conditions. While the Society will accept applications from single centres or research units, we are specifically looking for applications from applicants collaborating with other centres or units in the field.
Clinical Scientific Advisory Board (CSAC)
Our Clinical Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) consists of members of our Board of Trustees and the Society’s Patient Advocacy team. These members come from medical, healthcare or research backgrounds from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives who will consider research applications each year.
All proposals will be subject to a review process to ensure they meet our high standard of quality. The committee will make an informed recommendation to our Board of Trustees who hold the final decision on how we allocate research funds.
Applications for grants will be assessed on:
The importance or burden of the health or care problem being studied
What the proposed research adds to the existing body of knowledge
The improvements in health and care this research is likely to lead to
The potential impact of the research on patients, the public and people working in health and care
Whether the cost of the research is reasonable and commensurate with the work involved
The likelihood that the research design is feasible and deliverable and answers the proposed question
We will consider applications across the breadth of metabolic medicine, but of course, will focus on MPS and related disorders.
Conflicts of interest
Both the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Committee and any external reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest. Those with conflicts are not permitted to discuss or provide comment on those applications.
Rare Disease Research Partners support research and access to treatment for people living with rare conditions.
Research grant application process
The MPS Society is inviting applications for research grants in MPS, Fabry and related diseases. The grants will be awarded for a period of between one and three years but funding in years two and three will be subject to an annual review and the charitable funds being available. Members of the MPS Society’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) will review the grant proposals. All research grant applications must meet the MPS Society’s terms and conditions of Medical Research Grants.
Can you join the peer review panel?
We are committed to transparency and open access and applications will be sent out for peer-review. We would encourage all applicants, potential applicants or people with an interest to help us support impactful research by joining our peer review panel, if you are willing to spare a couple of hours reviewing an application please contact the peer review coordinator.
What causes MPS I?Mucopolysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecules used in the building of bones, cartilage, skin, tendons and many other tissues in the body. “Muco” refers to the thick jelly-like consistency of the sugar molecules, “poly” means many, and “saccharide” is a general term for the sugar part of the molecule. In the course of normal life there is a continuous recycling process of building new mucopolysaccharides and breaking down old ones. The breakdown and recycling process requires a series of special biochemical tools called enzymes. People with MPS I are missing or are low in an enzyme called alpha-L-iduronidase, which is essential in breaking down mucopolysaccharides dermatan sulphate and heparan sulphate. When dermatan sulphate and heparan sulphate are not completely broken down they remain stored in the body. The symptoms of MPS I occur when there is a build-up of dermatan sulphate and heparan sulphate in the tissues in the body. Babies may show little sign of the disease but as more and more cells build-up of partially broken down mucopolysaccharides, symptoms start to appear.
How is MPS I inherited?MPS I is an autosomal recessive disease this means that both parents must carry the same affected gene and each pass this same affected gene to their child. People probably carry from 5 to 10 genes with mutations in each of their cells. Problems happen when the particular gene is dominant or when a mutation is present in both copies of a recessive gene pair. Genes are the unique set of instructions inside our bodies that make each of us an individual. They are the blueprint for our growth and development, as well as controlling how our bodies function. Genes are carried on structures called chromosomes and it is usual to have 23 pairs. A child will inherit half of the chromosomes from the mother and the other half from the father resulting in 23 pairs. 22 of these pairs look the same in both males and females. Pair 23 are the sex chromosomes, and this is the pair that differ between females and males. The X chromosome is inherited from the mother and the Y chromosome is inherited from the father. More information about inheritance is available here. For each pregnancy the chances of a baby inheriting MPS I are completely independent of whether a previous child was affected with MPS I. With each pregnancy there is a 1 in 4 chance that the baby will be affected by MPS I. All parents of children with MPS I can benefit from genetic counselling, the counsellor can provide advice on the risk to close relatives and to suggest whether the wider family should be informed. To find out during a pregnancy, if the baby is affected by MPS I, screening tests can be arranged early on during a pregnancy for those families who already have a child with MPS I. Where only one parent is a carrier, they can opt for carrier screening but it is not 100% reliable or accurate and is not possible in all cases. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are both available during the pregnancy to find out if the baby is affected by MPS I. It might also be possible to have Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) screening to avoid passing MPS I to the baby. PGD is an assisted fertility treatment that involves checking the chromosomes of embryos before they are transferred in the womb using IVF techniques.
How common is MPS I?It is estimated that nearly 6% of the UK population (around 3.5million people) will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives. A single rare disease may affect up to about 30,000 people however the vast majority of rare diseases affect far fewer than this. During a 10 year period (1989 to 1999) 88 babies were born with MPS I in the UK.
How are people with MPS I affected?People with MPS I can experience some or many symptoms from a wide spectrum which range from severe to very mild. Generally, children with the classic severe form of Hurler disease have progressive developmental delay, severe progressive physical problems and early advancement of the disease. People with Scheie disease do not have progressive developmental delay and their physical problems advance more slowly. People with Hurler-Scheie disease will fall between the two ends of the spectrum. It is important to note that people with MPS I will not all experience all the symptoms. For more information about the specific symptoms click through each of the symptom links below.
Treatment options for people with MPS IEnzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) For people with Hurler-Scheie and Scheie diseases ERT is a long-term therapy whereby the missing or deficient enzyme is given via an intravenous infusion. The name for the replacement enzyme in MPS I is laronidase and the brand name is Aldurazyme®. Aldurazyme® was licensed as an ERT in 2003 and has been shown to reduce many of the non-brain related symptoms, such as improving respiratory function and mobility, and reducing joint stiffness. Aldurazyme® is a weekly infusion lasting 3 to 4 hours that is usually administered at home. More information about Aldurazyme® can be found at www.aldurazyme.com and a UK version of the patient information leaflet is here. Further information on this treatment is available from the electronic medicines compendium. For people with Hurler disease ERT is administered for a brief time before and after Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation therapy. Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) For Hurler disease HSCT is the treatment of choice for children up to 2 years old. The immediate benefits include correction of the missing or deficient enzyme. The long-term benefits include a longer life by protecting the heart, lungs and brain from the effects of progression of MPS I. Other organs and tissues can also show benefits from the therapy; these include the eyes and ears, liver, spleen, joints and airways. Even after a successful transplant and experiencing several benefits many people with MPS I may still require a range of orthopaedic surgeries. More information on these and supportive care treatments for people with MPS diseases can be found in the treatments section.
Research and clinical trials for people with MPS IFor an up-to-date list of current UK based trials taking place visit Be Part of Research (resource provided by the National Institute for Health Research). For an international search visit Clinical Trials (resource provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine). This resource provides information on trial status including recruiting, completed or withdrawn and worldwide trial locations. To find out more about past or current trials speak to your doctor and learn about the risks and potential benefits.
Living with MPS IThe MPS Society is the only UK charity at the forefront of supporting people and families affected by MPS and related diseases. Our extensive support services offers you a wide range of support and resources. The team can advise and sign post you to adequate needs-led support and services in your local area as well as social care, home adaptions, education and much more. The support team can visit you in your home and provide you with vital support and includes an Advocacy Officer based at Belfast City Hospital supporting members in Northern Ireland. Get involved and support us in the community, volunteer or support fundraising; we are a small charity but with your support we can continue to offer a highly valued and essential service.
In January 2020, the MPS Society awarded a grant to Professor Simon Heales of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London to employ a scientist for one year to evaluate a new piece of equipment that could significantly improve our ability to identify patients with lysosomal disorders such a MPS I, Pompe, Fabry and Gaucher Disease. The new technology, known as Digital Microfluidics, will be thoroughly tested by the Enzyme Laboratory at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Key aims of this study will be to document how robust and reliable the equipment is and how well it copes with large numbers of samples. At the end of the study, a recommendation will be made as to whether Digital Microfluidics is a suitable technique that could be used for incorporation into a newborn screening programme and/or routine diagnostics.