Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1) disease arises from a mutation inactivating NPC1 protein that normally moves unesterified cholesterol from the late endosomal/lysosomal complex of cells to the cytosolic compartment for processing. As a result, cholesterol accumulates in every tissue of the body causing liver, lung, and CNS disease. Treatment of the murine model of this disease, the npc1 mouse, s.c. with β-cyclodextrin (4000 mg/kg) one time each week normalized cellular cholesterol metabolism in the liver and most other organs. At the same time, the hepatic dysfunction seen in the untreated npc1 mouse was prevented. The severity of cerebellar neurodegeneration also was ameliorated, although not entirely prevented, and the median lifespan of the animals was doubled. However, in contrast to these other organs, lung showed progressive macrophage infiltration with development of lipoid pneumonitis. These studies demonstrated that weekly cyclodextrin administration overcomes the lysosomal transport defect associated with the NPC1 mutation, nearly normalizes hepatic and whole animal cholesterol pools, and prevents the development of liver disease. Furthermore, this treatment slows cerebellar neurodegeneration but has little or no effect on the development of progressive pulmonary disease.