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SMA Foundation

Dr. Seward Rutkove Receives $1MM Biomarker Prize from the Prize4Life Foundation

Congratulations to Foundation Investigator Seward Rutkove, the recipient of the $1MM Biomarker Prize from the Prize4Life Foundation! The Prize was awarded for Dr. Rutkove’s work to advance the use of electrical impedance myography (EIM) as a biomarker measure for ALS. The SMA Foundation funded a pilot study of EIM in children with SMA to determine if this measure might be useful in motor neuron diseases of children. Dr. Rutkove (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Dr. Basil Darras (Children’s Hospital Boston) and colleagues demonstrated that EIM results differed significantly between both SMA patients and normal subjects and between type 2 and type 3 SMA patients. This work was published in Muscle and Nerve in December 2010. Analysis of the longitudinal data from this study is ongoing and future studies to determine the usefulness of EIM as a biomarker of disease severity are under discussion. EIM meets important outcome measure criteria of children and parents: the measurements are noninvasive, painless and quick and easy to perform and would significantly reduce the burden of trials for SMA families. If research supports EIM as a reliable and sensitive biomarker, it could prove to be an important advancement toward shortening the duration and complexity of clinical trials for SMA.