HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill into law this week which makes screening for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in newborns mandatory in Connecticut.
SMA is a genetic neuromuscular disease which causes muscular atrophy and weakness.
The disease is the leading genetic cause of death for infants under age two and affects as many as 10,000 to 25,000 children and adults in the United States.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, which serves as a Muscular Dystrophy Association Care Center, received a five-year grant extension in 2018 to follow SMA patients over a number of years.
In 2016, Connecticut Children’s conducted clinical trials for Spinraza and found infants treated before showing symptoms of SMA, rather than after, gained more motor milestones.
“This is a crucial step towards early and effective treatment for SMA, which is now available and proved to be the most effective if started as early as in the newborn period,” said Gyula Acsadi, MD, Division Head of Neurology at Connecticut Children’s.
Connecticut has joined a growing list of states in mandating newborn SMA screening.