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      Nusinersen versus Sham Control in Infantile-Onset Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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          Abstract

          Spinal muscular atrophy is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder that is caused by an insufficient level of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Nusinersen is an antisense oligonucleotide drug that modifies pre-messenger RNA splicing of the SMN2 gene and thus promotes increased production of full-length SMN protein.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Treatment of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy with nusinersen: a phase 2, open-label, dose-escalation study.

          Nusinersen is a 2'-O-methoxyethyl phosphorothioate-modified antisense drug being developed to treat spinal muscular atrophy. Nusinersen is specifically designed to alter splicing of SMN2 pre-mRNA and thus increase the amount of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein that is deficient in patients with spinal muscular atrophy.
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            Antisense correction of SMN2 splicing in the CNS rescues necrosis in a type III SMA mouse model.

            Increasing survival of motor neuron 2, centromeric (SMN2) exon 7 inclusion to express more full-length SMN protein in motor neurons is a promising approach to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic neurodegenerative disease. Previously, we identified a potent 2'-O-(2-methoxyethyl) (MOE) phosphorothioate-modified antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) that blocks an SMN2 intronic splicing silencer element and efficiently promotes exon 7 inclusion in transgenic mouse peripheral tissues after systemic administration. Here we address its efficacy in the spinal cord--a prerequisite for disease treatment--and its ability to rescue a mild SMA mouse model that develops tail and ear necrosis, resembling the distal tissue necrosis reported in some SMA infants. Using a micro-osmotic pump, we directly infused the ASO into a lateral cerebral ventricle in adult mice expressing a human SMN2 transgene; the ASO gave a robust and long-lasting increase in SMN2 exon 7 inclusion measured at both the mRNA and protein levels in spinal cord motor neurons. A single embryonic or neonatal intracerebroventricular ASO injection strikingly rescued the tail and ear necrosis in SMA mice. We conclude that this MOE ASO is a promising drug candidate for SMA therapy, and, more generally, that ASOs can be used to efficiently redirect alternative splicing of target genes in the CNS.
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              Spinal muscular atrophy.

              Spinal muscular atrophy is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease characterised by degeneration of spinal cord motor neurons, atrophy of skeletal muscles, and generalised weakness. It is caused by homozygous disruption of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene by deletion, conversion, or mutation. Although no medical treatment is available, investigations have elucidated possible mechanisms underlying the molecular pathogenesis of the disease. Treatment strategies have been developed to use the unique genomic structure of the SMN1 gene region. Several candidate treatment agents have been identified and are in various stages of development. These and other advances in medical technology have changed the standard of care for patients with spinal muscular atrophy. In this Seminar, we provide a comprehensive review that integrates clinical manifestations, molecular pathogenesis, diagnostic strategy, therapeutic development, and evidence from clinical trials.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM/MMS)
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                November 02 2017
                November 02 2017
                : 377
                : 18
                : 1723-1732
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1702752
                29091570
                © 2017
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