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The Pessoa Family

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Roberto

Roberto, Marcela and Natália's dad, fights to promote cyclodextrin's use in Brazil and around the world.

Renata

Renata, Marcela and Natália's mom, cares for her girls as they struggle with NPC.

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Marcela

In January 2009, older daughter Marcela was officially diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C at the age of fourteen. She has been fighting her condition using cyclodextrin since 2010.

Natália

Younger daughter Natália was also officially diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C in January 2009, at the age of ten. She has been fighting NPC with cyclodextrin since 2010.

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Niemann-Pick Type C

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Symptoms

Family

Marcela began showing symptoms of a degenerative disease when she was seven years old. Six years later, Natália started to show some symptoms of her own, and the Pessoas began to suspect their girls had the same disease.

Dr. Camilo Vieira

The girls exhibit different symptoms of NPC - Marcela's affect her motor functions, and Natália's affect her cognitive ability.

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Cyclodextrin

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Using Cyclodextrin

Family

After a long search, the Pessoas finally found a local facility willing to administer cyclodextrin to their girls. Six months later, they moved to a home-care system and now administer IV infusions themselves.

Dr. Camilo Vieira

After beginning home care, Dr. Vieira worked closely with doctors in the States to ensure that he administered Marcela and Natália's treatment properly.

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Early Intervention

"I'd tell them not to waste any time...I've counseled many families to pursue it."

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Results

Family

Two months after starting cyclodextrin treatment, Marcela's writing improved and her seizures stopped, while Natália's psychiatric disabilities disappeared completely.

Dr. Camilo Vieira

Cyclodextrin treatment allowed the girls to rejoin society - both could return to school and go out to restaurants and movies.

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Pursuing Cyclodextrin

Family

With the help of Hugh and Chris Hempel and neuropediatrician Camilo Vieira, the Pessoas finally got approval from the government to begin cyclodextrin treatment.

Dr. Camilo Vieira

Dr. Vieira, working closely with the Hempels, managed to import cyclodextrin into Brazil and prescribe it for the girls legally.

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Recommending Cyclodextrin

"This treatment is worth fighting for...five years ago, we couldn't even imagine we'd have such normal lives with our daughters today."