Dercum‘s disease, also known as Adiposis Dolorosa, is a rare condition that is characterized by multiple, painful fatty lipomas (benign, fatty tumors). It occurs in men and women but is more common in post-menopausal women. The lipomas are located primarily in the subcutaneous tissue. They can occur almost anywhere but often occur on the arms near elbow, legs near the knee and the trunk. Unlike ordinary lipomas, there is also pain that can be severe and sometimes debilitating. It is a chronic condition, meaning that it is a long-lasting condition that is often progressive.
Currently there are very few treatments for Dercum’s Disease. The only effective treatments for painful lipomas at present are surgical options such open excision and liposuction. The current treatments, although they can be effective, have drawbacks which limit their use more broadly. Open surgical excision of painful lipomas is unusually incomplete, and it can lead to scarring which has a potential to create more lipomas. Open surgical excision is time-consuming if multiple lipomas are removed and it leaves a visible scar. Liposuction can be expensive and is generally not covered by medical insurance. Although Liposuction can treat a larger area at one time, it also takes a good deal of time and does not completely remove all of the lipomas.
Raziel Therapeutics recently received the go ahead to investigate the possible treatment Dercum‘s disease with a new drug at this time designated RZL-012 as an orphan drug.