Mucopolysaccharidosis I-Hurler (MPS I-H) is the most severe form of a metabolic genetic disease caused by mutations of IDUA gene encoding the lysosomal α-L-iduronidase enzyme. MPS I-H is a rare, life-threatening disease, evolving in multisystem morbidity including progressive neurological disease, upper airway obstruction, skeletal deformity and cardiomyopathy. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is currently the gold standard for the treatment of MPS I-H in patients diagnosed and treated before 2–2.5 years of age, having a high rate of success. Beyond the child’s age, other factors influence the probability of treatment success, including the selection of patients, of graft source and the donor type employed. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with human recombinant laronidase has also been demonstrated to be effective in ameliorating the clinical conditions of pre-transplant MPS I-H patients and in improving HSCT outcome, by peri-transplant co-administration. Nevertheless the long-term clinical outcome even after successful HSCT varies considerably, with a persisting residual disease burden. Other strategies must then be considered to improve the outcome of these patients: one is to pursue early pre-symptomatic diagnosis through newborn screening and another one is the identification of novel treatments. In this perspective, even though newborn screening can be envisaged as a future attractive perspective, presently the best path to be pursued embraces an improved awareness of signs and symptoms of the disorder by primary care providers and pediatricians, in order for the patients’ timely referral to a qualified reference center. Furthermore, sensitive new biochemical markers must be identified to better define the clinical severity of the disease at birth, to support clinical judgement during the follow-up and to compare the effects of the different therapies. A prolonged neuropsychological follow-up of post-transplant cognitive development of children and residual disease burden is needed. In this perspective, the reference center must guarantee a multidisciplinary follow-up with an expert team. Diagnostic and interventional protocols of reference centers should be standardized whenever possible to allow comparison of clinical data and evaluation of results. This review will focus on all these critical issues related to the management of MPS I-H.
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