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Trends Mol Med. 2011 May;17(5):259-65. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Prospects for the gene therapy of spinal muscular atrophy.

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Genzyme Corporation, 49 New York Avenue, Framingham, MA 01701-9322, USA.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease caused by a deficiency of functional SMN protein because of mutations in SMN1. A decrease in SMN activity results in motor neuron cell loss in the spinal cord, leading to a weakness of the proximal muscles responsible for crawling, walking, head/neck control and swallowing as well as the involuntary muscles that control breathing and coughing. Thus, patients present with pulmonary manifestations, paralysis and a shortened lifespan. Gene therapy is emerging as a promising therapeutic strategy for SMA given that the molecular basis for this monogenic disorder is well established. Recent advances and findings from preclinical studies in animal models provide optimism that gene therapy might be an effective therapeutic strategy for treating SMA.

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