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Remembering Monica Gutierrez

Letter from Dr. Tomatus remembers Monic Gutierrez who was a member of the Morquio Research Team


RE: Morquio A Project: over the tragedy and difficulty


Dear All Morquio Families and Friends,


We have had a great progress through this year in concert with all Morquio families, MPS Societies, core medical doctors, Inotech Co, and PFC Pharma Co. and our lab colleagues (see our team picture) on Morquio Project. We are very close to have natural history program in summer, 2007 and will conduct the clinical trial in early 2008. We also have four Morquio family meetings at New York (March), Seatle (July), Tampa (May), and Georgia (November). Detailed announcement will be done very shortly. Please join the meeting!  However, as you may have heard already, our precious lab manager Monica Gutierrez was killed by car accident on Nov. 3rd. I heard about this tragedy while I was at Inotech Co. in Switzerland. I lost the word over there. I am deeply sorry for what happened on our beloved Monica.

Monica has helped me a lot on my work and given me remarkable achievements in science. Without Monica’s dedication to work, it would never happen. We are very close to reach our goal to develop the drug which we have pursued for a long time. With a big hope, Monica was supposed to apply to graduate school on the coming December. I am so happy that Monica will become a graduate student working together here at my lab. Monica always said to me “I want to continue this work with you. I do not want to leave here.”

Monica is still a young and promising scientist having a lot of hopes and talents.

We miss Monica a lot.

We believe in Monica’s will.

We shall stand up out of this great sadness.

We shall become stronger.

We shall succeed to Monica’s hope in medicine and shall surely achieve our goal on behalf of children waiting for the drug. That should be our destiny sharing with Monica.

We shed our tears for Monica for these days but we will quit shedding tears now. We will shed tears with Monica for joy in the near future. I am sure that Monica tells me at that time, “ Dr. Tomatsu, congratulation for success of the drug for Morquio kids! I am very happy to work with you.”

 Thanks for all encouragement after the tragedy has happened from all the families and friends. Now our Morquio Dream Team is getting recovery day by day.

We are sure we can work together for the goal. All information related to Morquio Project should be updated and posted at the web sites of the active Morquio foundations as well as other national MPS Societies in a timely manner.

 Also we encourage to enroll your Morquio Child into the international Morquio registry or update the situation annually by using annual questionnaire on the web site of This Morquio Registry provides critical information to know the situation of each Morquio Child and such summary of registry information from all registered patients gives the precise natural history of Morquio A Disease. Comparison between the natural history data and post-treatment data provides a strong evidence of the effectiveness of the drug, supporting the approval of the drug.


Since the announcements on Morquio Project for the clinical trial have been e-mailed to the Morquio Community, physicians, and companies, we have already had a number of encouragements and offers of support from Morquio families and physicians. I really appreciate your participation and encouragement on Morquio Project. This is a real challenge for Morquio families, Foundations, MPS Societies, physicians, academic institute, and the pharmaceutical company to achieve the goal, development of the treatment for Morquio children. Although it may be still tough and some obstacles may come in the near future, I strongly believe that we can overcome it since we already continued this Morquio Project for the last 20 years in spite of many hardships and overcame many issues after all.

 Please kindly join this Morquio Project with your courtesy and kindness. Even your little contribution on this Project is quite appreciated. Without working together, nothing will happen.

 Thank you again for your understanding of Morquio A Project on behalf of Morquio Children and Families.

 See you very soon!!! Have a nice holiday!

Most Sincerely,


Shunji Tomatsu MD PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Saint Louis University,
Pediatric Research Institute 3662 Park Ave. St. Louis MO 63110-2512
Phone: 314-577-5623 ext. 6213
Fax: 314-577-5398

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