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ISS-N1 makes the first FDA-approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy
Translational Neuroscience
  • Eric W. Ottesen, Iowa State University
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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is one of the leading genetic diseases of children and infants. SMA is caused by deletions or mutations of Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. SMN2, a nearly identical copy of SMN1, cannot compensate for the loss of SMN1 due to predominant skipping of exon 7. While various regulatory elements that modulate SMN2 exon 7 splicing have been proposed, intronic splicing silencer N1 (ISS-N1) has emerged as the most promising target thus far for antisense oligonucleotide-mediated splicing correction in SMA. Upon procuring exclusive license from the University of Massachussets Medical School in 2010, Ionis Pharmaceuticals (formerly ISIS Pharamaceuticals) began clinical development of Spinraza™ (synonyms: Nusinersen, IONIS-SMNRX, ISIS-SMNRX), an antisense drug based on ISS-N1 target. Spinraza™ showed very promising results at all steps of the clinical development and was approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 23, 2016. Spinraza™ is the first FDA-approved treatment for SMA and the first antisense drug to restore expression of a fully functional protein via splicing correction. The success of Spinraza™ underscores the potential of intronic sequences as promising therapeutic targets and sets the stage for further improvement of antisense drugs based on advanced oligonucleotide chemistries and delivery protocols.

This article is published as Ottesen, Eric W. "ISS-N1 makes the first FDA-approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy." Translational Neuroscience 8, no. 1 (2017): 1-6, doi: 10.1515/tnsci-2017-0001. Posted with permission.

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Eric W. Ottesen. "ISS-N1 makes the first FDA-approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy" Translational Neuroscience Vol. 8 Iss. 1 (2017) p. 1 - 6
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