On February 1, 2017, Cash became the first patient at Sutter Medical Center Sacramento’s Children’s Center to receive the groundbreaking SPINRAZA® treatment in the hospital’s pediatric day unit.
Cash, as his family affectionately calls him, lives with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurological disease characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem, resulting in severe and progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. Individuals with the most severe type of SMA can become paralyzed and have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing.
During a controlled clinical study, infantile-onset SMA patients treated with SPINRAZA® achieved and sustained improvement in motor function compared to untreated study participants. In addition, a greater percentage of patients on SPINRAZA® survived compared to untreated patients. In open-label studies, some patients achieved milestones such as ability to sit unassisted, stand or walk when they would otherwise be unable to do so. Patients also maintained milestones at ages when they would be expected to be lost.
Cash was diagnosed with SMA at three months old and his parents Ashley and Cameron have become huge advocates for SMA and for treatment of the disease.
SPINRAZA™ was FDA approved on Dec 23, 2016, and the family worked quickly with their son’s neurologists to get his first dose administered. Sutter Medical Center Sacramento’s Children’s Center was the first hospital in Sacramento and third hospital in Northern California to give the treatment.
“We are so proud to be one of the first hospitals in Northern California to provide PINRAZA® to SMA patients,” said Tamara Powers, Assistant Administrator for Women’s and Children’s Services at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “SMA is a devastating diagnosis for a family and SPINRAZA® offers new hope for families and the entire SMA community.”
Cash will receive follow-up treatments of SPINRAZA® for the rest of his life. Since starting the treatment in early 2017, Cash has been able to breathe with lower ventilator assistance. He can also bend his knees and hold his legs up for a longer amount of time. He used to control his iPad and other electronic devices with his eyes, but he can now use his hands on the touch screen.
“He’s made small and steady improvements and gained a lot of weight,” said mom Ashley. “He has better motor function and strength.”
The family is hopeful that SPINRAZA® will continue to help Cash progress.