Progress in treatment and newborn screening for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy

Qing Ke, Zheng Yan Zhao, Jerry R. Mendell, Mei Baker, Veronica Wiley, Jennifer M. Kwon, Lindsay N. Alfano, Anne M. Connolly, Catherine Jay, Hanna Polari, Emma Ciafaloni, Ming Qi, Robert C. Griggs, Michele A. Gatheridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Advances in treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) hold promise for children with these disorders. Accurate genetic diagnosis, early in the disease process, will allow these treatments to be most effective. Newborn screening (NBS) for SMA has been recommended in the United States, and a pilot DMD NBS program is underway in Hangzhou, China. Data sources: A PubMed search, limited to the past 5 years, was conducted to identify: (1) therapeutic advancements for DMD/SMA approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicine Agency and (2) The status of NBS for DMD/SMA. Results: We review the current state of approved treatments for DMD/SMA. We present recommendations regarding the future of NBS for these diseases, with a focus on the outcomes and challenges of SMA NBS in New York, USA, and the DMD NBS pilot program in Hangzhou, China. Conclusions: Approved treatments for DMD and SMA may change the natural history of these diseases. Long-term studies of these treatments are underway. To avoid the known diagnostic delay associated with these disorders and provide optimal effectiveness of these treatments, early identification of patients through NBS will be necessary. Establishing comprehensive follow-up plans for positively identified patients will need to be in place for NBS programs to be successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Duchene muscular dystrophy
  • Neurology
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Newborn screening
  • Spinal muscular atrophy


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