A method invented by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers to treat spinal muscular atrophy has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a neurological disorder that results from the loss of function in certain cells in the spinal cord, leading to progressing motor weakness, muscle wasting and paralysis. It has been estimated that it is the most frequent genetic cause of infant mortality. The disorder is caused by an insufficient level of certain proteins related to motor neurons. The mechanism that leads to muscular atrophy and the loss of motor neurons is obscure, and new drugs to treat the disorder are needed.
IU School of Medicine researchers have developed compounds that, alone or in combination with other drugs known to treat spinal muscular atrophy, may increase full-length survival of motor neuron protein production. They disclosed their invention to the Indiana University Innovation and Commercialization Office, which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry.