This medical video explores the new drug which can help those who suffer from Wilson's disease.
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Jennifer Matthews: Len Pytlak visits the University of Michigan once a week to talk about Wilson's disease. Len Pytlak: So I come up and visit with those people and talk to them about it and their families and the patients themselves and let them know they're not alone. Jennifer Matthews: Len has the disease himself. His brother died from it. It results from too much copper in the liver. Doctor George Brewer has developed this drug, Tetrathiomolybdate, TM for short, to stop copper from building up. Dr. George Brewer: If you give it between meals, it gets absorbed very nicely into the blood stream so the copper is not available to cause toxicity. Jennifer Matthews: Zinc, the standard maintenance therapy, works too slowly to initially treat severe cases. The drug penicillamine works fast, but can worsen problems in many patients. TM may be the answer. Dr. George Brewer: Very quickly, we can stop further type of toxicity with TM and get things going in the right direction. Jennifer Matthews: In one study, brain damage worsened in 50 percent of those on penicillamine but only in 4 percent of those on TM. Dr. George Brewer: It's very rewarding to see something that you've developed actually work and to see the patients improve and come back living, able to live a much more normal life. Jennifer Matthews: Len maintains his disease with zinc. Today, he's talking to a girl from Canada about her new diagnosis. Len Pytlak: My brother died of it so you know that gives you some impetus to stop other people from dying of it. Jennifer Matthews: Both Len and Doctor Brewer hope death will no longer be part of the equation. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.