There are over 70 human diseases that are caused by defects in various aspects of lysosomal function. Until 20 years ago, the only specific therapy available for lysosomal storage disorders was allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation. Over the last two decades, there has been remarkable progress and there are now licensed treatments for seven of these diseases. In some cases, a choice of agents is available. For selected enzyme-deficiency disordes, ERT (enzyme-replacement therapy) has proved to be highly effective. In other cases, ERT has been less impressive, and it seems that it is not possible to efficiently deliver recombinant enzyme to all tissues. These difficulties have led to the development of other small-molecule-based therapies, and a drug for SRT (substrate-reduction therapy) is now licensed and potential chaperone molecules for ERT are in the late stages of clinical development. Nonetheless, there is still significant unmet clinical need, particularly when it comes to treating LSDs which affect the brain. LSDs have led the way in the development of treatment for genetic disorders, and it seems likely that there will be further therapeutic innovations in the future.

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