Author Archives: Marisa Wexler MS

Treatment Delays May Be Less Important Than Family Support

The COVID-19 pandemic led to delays in treatment with Spinraza (nusinersen) for many children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). However, these delays seem to have a lower impact on children’s functional skills when compared with family support, according to a small study in Italy. The study, “…

Weak Trunk Muscles, Spine Problems Need Early Attention in SMA

Children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) who have spine deformities or weak trunk muscles are more likely than others to have substantial limits to functional abilities and life activities, a study in patients ages 6 months to 15 years reported. Strengthening trunk muscles through regular exercise and physical therapy…

Novartis Wraps Zolgensma Price, Availability Negotiations in Canada

Novartis has completed negotiations with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) regarding pricing and availability of Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), its approved gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), for pediatric patients. With this negotiation completed, individual public drug plans in Canada will now make final decisions about the coverage…

Newborn Screening Pilot for SMA in Belgium Grows Into Official Program

A pilot newborn screening (NBS) program for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) that started in Liège province has transitioned into an official, government-run program spanning Southern Belgium. Its architects described their experience, highlighting concepts that may be useful for creating similar programs, as well as problems that arose and how they…

SMA Caused by Mutation in ASAH1 Gene Reported in Romania

The first-ever case of someone in Romania with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) caused by a mutation in the ASAH1 gene was described in a recent report. The study, “Clinical features and genetics in non-5q spinal muscular atrophy caused by acid ceramidase deficiency,” was published in the …

FDA Lifts Hold on Clinical Trials of Intrathecal OAV-101

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted its partial hold on clinical trials of OAV-101 (AVXS-101), an investigational intrathecal gene therapy for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The agency put a hold on the open-label clinical trial STRONG in 2019, citing concerns seen in…