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The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a gene therapy for metachromatic leukodystrophy, a devastating genetic disorder that eats away at affected children’s neurons.

The medicine, marketed as Lenmeldy, is the first treatment for MLD, which is otherwise fatal. Lenmeldy has to be given before symptoms appear or, in some cases, after the first signs of disease, so it won’t be helpful for many patients living with MLD today. But when given in time, it appears to be near-curative for some, allowing certain children to grow up and attend school with unaffected peers.


Lenmeldy is already marketed in Europe, under the name Libmeldy, and has helped a handful of patients in the U.S. who were treated under compassionate use, as their doctors feared they didn’t have time to wait for approval.

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