Patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 Achieve and Maintain Bulbar Function Following Onasemnogene Abeparvovec Treatment

Katlyn E. Mcgrattan, Richard D. Shell, Rebecca Hurst-Davis, Sally Dunaway Young, Eamonn O'brien, Arseniy Lavrov, Shiri Wallach, Nicole Lamarca, Sandra P. Reyna, Basil T. Darras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Improvement and maintenance of bulbar function are goals of disease-modifying treatments for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Lack of standardized measures and a widely accepted definition of bulbar function represents a gap in SMA care. Objective: A multidisciplinary team conducted post-hoc analyses of pooled data from one phase 1 (START) and two phase 3 (STR1VE-US, STR1VE-EU) studies to define and evaluate bulbar function of infants with SMA type 1 after receiving one-time gene replacement therapy, onasemnogene abeparvovec. Methods: We defined bulbar function as the ability to meet nutritional needs while maintaining airway protection and the ability to communicate verbally. Four endpoints represented adequate bulbar function: (1) absence of clinician-identified physiologic swallowing impairment, (2) receiving full oral nutrition, (3) absence of adverse events indicating pulmonary instability, and (4) the ability to vocalize at least two different, distinct vowel sounds. We descriptively assessed numbers/percentages of patients who achieved each endpoint and all four collectively. Patients were followed until 18 months old (STR1VE-US and STR1VE-EU) or 24 months (START) post-infusion. Results: Overall, 65 patients were analyzed for swallowing, nutrition intake, and adverse events, and 20 were analyzed for communication. At study end, 92% (60/65) of patients had a normal swallow, 75% (49/65) achieved full oral nutrition, 92% (60/65) had no evidence of pulmonary instability, 95% (19/20) met the communication endpoint, and 75% (15/20) achieved all four bulbar function components in the composite endpoint. Conclusions: In these three clinical trials, patients with SMA type 1 who received onasemnogene abeparvovec achieved and maintained the bulbar function criteria utilized within this investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-540
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuromuscular Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 - The authors.


  • Airway protection
  • aspiration
  • bulbar function
  • dysphagia
  • gene therapy
  • onasemnogene abeparvovec
  • pneumonia
  • spinal muscular atrophy
  • swallowing
  • verbal communication

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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