People with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) can be treated with the drug Spinraza (nusinersen), which is administered via spinal tap guided by CT scans. But because patients must receive the medication routinely over the course of a lifetime, the overall exposure to radiation can increase the risk of cancer. Now, a new study suggests that clinicians can administer the drug treatment with images created using less radiation.

Researchers reviewed images for 64 CT-guided Spinraza injections that were done at their institution between September 2017 to October 2019. The injections were given to 13 adults with SMA….

Prior to May 2019, CT scans at the researchers’ institution were done using a standard radiation dose of 133–200 milliamperes. An updated protocol put into place in May 2019 used a lower radiation dose (20–67 mA), along with more advanced image reconstruction software to try to make up for the resultant lower quality.

Forty-four of the analyzed scans were done with the old protocol, and the remaining 20 were done with the low-radiation protocol. All 13 people received at least one Spinraza injection using the low-radiation protocol, with no apparent complications. For both protocols, only one injection attempt was necessary for the majority of cases, and there were no significant differences in average time taken to perform a lumbar puncture.

Read more at SMA News Today; find the study at Scientific Reports.

Featured image: Standard- and low-dose scans for procedure planning of intrathecal nusinersen administration. Image reconstructions for standard-dose scans were performed using a hybrid iterative reconstruction algorithm (iDose4; Philips Healthcare, Best, The Netherlands). Low-dose scans were reconstructed with iterative model reconstruction (IMR; Philips Healthcare, Best, The Netherlands). Image courtesy, Scientific Reports.