Copper: Quest for a Cure

Indexed in: Scopus

This is the story of how Wilson’s disease, a previously rare and fatal inherited disease, was conquered by a series of individual discoveries, leading to highly effective treatments. It also ...
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The Department of Experimental Medicine

Pp. 24-32 (9)

John Walshe

Abstract

The story resumes with yet another move, the third in all, to new laboratories in the University wing at the New Addenbrooke's Hospital. This had the advantage of being near my ward, the service departments, biochemistry, haematology, radiology and audiovisual aids. It had the disadvantage of removing me from the basic science departments of the University with whom I had had such successful cooperation. In addition my new quarters were much smaller than before and there was no convenient place to see patients. The major problem was the roof. Every time it rained heavily the roof leaked and I had to take unusual action to get this remedied.

However the main problem was the realisation that the impurity in our trientine preparation was not only potentially toxic but, perhaps actually so. This lead to a search for and, eventually thanks again to Hal Dixon, the finding of a solution to the problem. Other activities were a search for a common ancestor to a cluster of Wilson patients centred around the Wash; the search through church records was fascinating but, unfortunately, non productive; the cluster must have been coincidental There was also some work for an ice cream firm who allowed a batch of iced lollies with excess copper onto the market. Finally there was continued work on basic brain chemistry with Sir Rudolph Peters in the University Department of Biochemistry in which we showed how copper might damage the transport of ions through the neuronal membrane........

Affiliation:

University of Cambridge, UK.