Spinal muscular atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) affects the motor neurons – the nerve cells responsible for controlling movement of the skeletal muscles. Damage to or complete loss of motor neurons causes muscle wasting or atrophy and weakness. The weakness is usually more severe in the proximal muscles (close to the centre of the body) and usually worsens with age.

SMA is caused by defects in the SMN1 gene, which is responsible for making a protein called the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Various factors can affect the amount of SMN protein available and this in turn affects the severity of the disease, which has been classified into different types depending on the maximum functional ability the affected person reaches: individuals with type I never manage to sit independently; those with type II achieve the ability to sit up on their own but never manage to walk independently; type III patients achieve the ability to walk but may lose this ability later or require a wheelchair for longer distances.

Read more about SMA at the NIH Genetics Home Reference site here

Our research in SMA focuses on the epidemiology of the disease, as well as standards of care, data sharing and patient registries. SMA is at the forefront of therapy development in neuromuscular disease, and with new treatments being developed and approved, this background data is becoming essential for providing evidence to payers about the numbers of people benefiting from new therapies as well as determining long-term outcomes and access to therapies.

 

 

*Photo with the kind permission of Vitaliy Matyushenko, Children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Ukraine

 

Girl with SMA takes selfie with her brother

Relevant publications

Hodgkinson, V, Lounsberry, J, M'Dahoma, S, Russell, A, Benstead, T, Brais, B et al.. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry 2010-2019: A Decade of Facilitating Clinical Research Through a Nationwide, Pan-Neuromuscular Disease Registry. J Neuromuscul Dis. 2020. PMID:32925088

Hodgkinson, VL, Chapman, K, Izenberg, A, Lochmüller, H, O'Connell, C, O'Ferrall, EK et al.. Response to provincial governments' decisions regarding monitoring for adults with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Can J Neurol Sci. 2020. 1-10 PMID:32713403

Sansone, VA, Walter, MC, Attarian, S, Delstanche, S, Mercuri, E, Lochmüller, H et al.. Measuring Outcomes in Adults with Spinal Muscular Atrophy - Challenges and Future Directions - Meeting Report. J Neuromuscul Dis. 2020.7 (4)523-534 PMID:32538864

Hodgkinson, VL, Oskoui, M, Lounsberry, J, M'Dahoma, S, Butler, E, Campbell, C et al.. A National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Registry for Real-World Evidence. Can J Neurol Sci. 2020. 1-6 PMID:32493524

Walter, MC, Wenninger, S, Thiele, S, Stauber, J, Hiebeler, M, Greckl, E et al.. Safety and Treatment Effects of Nusinersen in Longstanding Adult 5q-SMA Type 3 - A Prospective Observational Study. J Neuromuscul Dis. 2019.6 (4)453-465 PMID:31594243

König, K, Pechmann, A, Thiele, S, Walter, MC, Schorling, D, Tassoni, A et al.. De-duplicating patient records from three independent data sources reveals the incidence of rare neuromuscular disorders in Germany. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2019.14 (1)152 PMID:31234869

Boczonadi, V, King, MS, Smith, AC, Olahova, M, Bansagi, B, Roos, A et al.. Correction: Mitochondrial oxodicarboxylate carrier deficiency is associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion and spinal muscular atrophy-like disease. Genet Med. 2019.21 (9)2163-2164 PMID:31028354

Landfeldt, E, Edström, J, Sejersen, T, Tulinius, M, Lochmüller, H, Kirschner, J et al.. Quality of life of patients with spinal muscular atrophy: A systematic review. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2019.23 (3)347-356 PMID:30962132

Pechmann, A, König, K, Bernert, G, Schachtrup, K, Schara, U, Schorling, D et al.. SMArtCARE - A platform to collect real-life outcome data of patients with spinal muscular atrophy. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2019.14 (1)18 PMID:30665421

Kletzl, H, Marquet, A, Günther, A, Tang, W, Heuberger, J, Groeneveld, GJ et al.. The oral splicing modifier RG7800 increases full length survival of motor neuron 2 mRNA and survival of motor neuron protein: Results from trials in healthy adults and patients with spinal muscular atrophy. Neuromuscul Disord. 2019.29 (1)21-29 PMID:30553700

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