HOUSTON (KIAH) — Phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, is an inherited metabolic disease affecting the brain through increased levels of a substance called phenylalanine (Phe) in the blood. An amino acid, Phe is a building block of protein and is found in all proteins, most foods, and in some artificial sweeteners.

​However, patients who are diagnosed with PKU don’t have the enzyme necessary to break down phenylalanine. It can build up in the person’s blood, which can lead to serious health problems and even brain damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The founder and executive director of the My PKU Awareness Foundation, Andrea De La Torre, stopped by the CW39 studios to discuss PKU and about the first PKU Gala in Houston.

This memorable night will take place on Saturday, November 11, 2023. Cocktails and silent auction start at 6 pm. The emcee for the evening is Scott Pelley, award-winning journalist and correspondent with CBS News.

For tickets and sponsorship information, go to https://www.mypkuaf.org/pku-gala.html.