About Dr. Helen W. Yang


Dr. Yang grew up in a loving family in China as the child of two physicians. Soon after finishing medical school there, she came to DukeMedicalCenter to conduct medical genetics research. She worked with three other doctors and developed a new enzyme replacement therapy for glycogen storage disease type II, known as Pompe disease -- a fatal genetic condition that previously had been untreatable. Her original research led to clinical trials at DukeMedicalCenter, which showed significant improvement in survival of patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease. Since the FDA approval in 2006, the enzyme is now available for patients worldwide as Myozyme. Dr. Yang is one of the co-inventors of this therapy.*

Turning her interests to direct patient care, Dr. Yang successfully passed all required board exams and finished the residency training in family medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since 2001, Dr. Yang has practiced family medicine in North Carolina, board-certified by American Family Physicians.

Dr. Yang enjoys working with patients of all ages. In addition to providing state of the art primary medical care, she is also happy to explore with interested patients appropriate options in food therapy, natural supplements and Chinese acupuncture. Working together in a partnership with patients, her goal is to help them to reach their peak wellness and balance and to optimize the management of chronic or acute medical conditions.

Dr. Yang has lived and worked locally since 1991. She is married to a Duke University professor, and the couple has two healthy and happy children. They enjoy many fun family activities together: reading, gardening, cooking, hiking, biking, swimming and skiing. Her family is very important to her, and their love and support further enrich her professional life.

*Pompe disease and its Myozyme treatment hit screens on January 22, 2010 in "Extraordinary Measures" starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser. The original research “Clinical and Metabolic Correction of Pompe Disease by Enzyme Therapy in Acid Maltase–deficient Quail”, Tateki Kikuchi, Helen Wen Yang, Mark Pennybacker, Nobutsune Ichihara, Makoto Mizutani, Johan L.K. Van Hove, and Yuan-Tsong Chen, J. Clin. Invest. Volume 101, February 1998, 827–833, was featured in a story written in 1998.
 

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