Lysosomal storage diseases are a group of rare genetic disorders characterized by the accumulation of storage molecules in late endosomes/lysosomes. Most of them result from mutations in genes encoding for the catabolic enzymes that ensure intralysosomal digestion. Conventional therapeutic options include enzyme replacement therapy, an approach targeting the functional loss of the enzyme by injection of a recombinant one. Even though this is successful for some diseases, it is mostly effective for peripheral manifestations and has no impact on neuropathology. The development of alternative therapeutic approaches is, therefore, mandatory, and striking innovations including the clinical development of pharmacological chaperones and gene therapy are currently under evaluation. Most of them, however, have the same underlying rationale: an attempt to provide or enhance the activity of the missing enzyme to re-establish substrate metabolism to a level that is consistent with a lack of progression and/or return to health. Here, we will focus on the one approach which has a different underlying principle: substrate reduction therapy (SRT), whose uniqueness relies on the fact that it acts upstream of the enzymatic defect, decreasing storage by downregulating its biosynthetic pathway. Special attention will be given to the most recent advances in the field, introducing the concept of genetic SRT (gSRT), which is based on the use of RNA-degrading technologies (RNA interference and single stranded antisense oligonucleotides) to promote efficient substrate reduction by decreasing its synthesis rate.
Keywords: Gaucher disease (GD); Sanfilippo syndrome); combination therapy; mucopolysaccharidosis type III (MPS III; substrate reduction therapy (SRT).