Adam M. Kaye: 0000-0002-7224-3322

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Health Psychology Research









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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, autosomal recessive neuromuscular degenerative disease characterized by loss of spinal cord motor neurons leading to progressive muscle wasting. The most common pathology results from a homozygous disruption in the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene on chromosome 5q13 via deletion, conversion, or mutation. SMN2 is a near duplicate of SMN1 that can produce full-length SMN mRNA transcripts, but its overall production capability of these mRNA transcripts is lower than that seen in SMN1. This leads to lower levels of functional SMN protein within motor neurons. The FDA approved nusinersen in December 2016 to treat SMA associated with SMN1 gene mutation. It is administered directly to the central nervous system by intrathecal injection. An antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) drug, nusinersen, provides an upcoming and promising treatment option for SMA and represents a novel pharmacological approach with a mechanism of action relevant for other neurodegenerative disorders. Nusinersen begins with four initial loading doses that are followed by three maintenance doses per year. Three major studies (CHERISH, ENDEAR, and NURTURE) have shown to improve motor function in early and late-onset individuals and reduce the chances of ventilator requirements in pre-symptomatic infants. Studies investigating the timing of drug delivery in mouse models of SMA report the best outcomes when drugs are delivered early before any significant motor function is lost. Nusinersen is a novel therapeutic approach with consistent results in all three studies and is proof of the novel concept for treating SMA and other neurodegenerative disorders in the future.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License