Salford Royal NHS FT has become one of only 11 centres in the country able to provide the Nusinersen drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in adults. Up to 100 patients are set to receive the treatment at Salford Royal over the next 12 months.
Nusinersen has commonly been used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in children, and hadn’t previously been approved for use in adults with the same condition. Up until NHS England approved the drug in adults, adults with SMA living in the North West of England had no effective treatment option available to them.
SMA affects the nerves in the spinal cord, making muscles weaker and causing problems with movement, breathing and swallowing. Nusinersen (also called Spinraza) is the first treatment that targets the underlying cause of SMA. The treatment works by increasing the levels of a special protein produced by nerve cells in the spinal cord.
Phillip Kelly, Neuromuscular Specialist Nurse and Care Advisor in the Muscle Diseases Unit (MDU) at Salford Royal, said: “Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, we have been working incredibly hard to develop this new service, which we hope will vastly improve quality of life for patients living with SMA.”
Dr James Lilleker, Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the MDU at Salford Royal, said: “The launch of the service is an important step forward for patients being able to access disease modifying treatments.
“This is the first time this treatment has been available to adults living with SMA in the North West and represents an important milestone in the expansion and development of the Muscle Diseases Unit, as we seek to improve the lives of people living with muscle debilitating conditions.”