Nusinersen is a drug that has been commonly used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in children but had not previously been approved for use in adults with the same condition.
The first adult patient to be treated at Salford Royal with a new drug for a debilitating spinal condition said she is excited that there is finally hope for the future.
Nusinersen is a drug that has been commonly used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in children but had not previously been approved for use in adults with the same condition. Up until now, adults with SMA living in the North West of England had no effective treatment option available to them.
But, after approval by NHS England to use this medication in adults, Salford Royal has become one of only 11 centres in the country able to provide the treatment.
Jo McNicol, 44, was the first adult patient to receive the treatment at the Manchester Centre Clinical for Clinical Neurosciences at Salford Royal by lumbar puncture – a procedure during which a needle is inserted through the skin into the space between the bones of the lower spine.
Jo was born with SMA type 3, a condition which has left her with muscle weakness and fatigue which would only become progressively worse without treatment. She is able to walk but has used a wheelchair for any long distances for the past 10 years.
There is concern that over time she might lose the ability to walk altogether.
SMA affects the nerves in the spinal cord, making muscles weaker and causing problems with movement, breathing and swallowing.
Up to 100 patients are set to receive the treatment at Salford Royal over the next 12 months.
Nusinersen, also called Spinraza and made by Biogen, is the first treatment that targets the underlying cause of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The treatment works by increasing the levels of a special protein produced by nerve cells in the spinal cord.