Scientific rationale for a higher dose of nusinersen

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2022 Jun;9(6):819-829. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51562. Epub 2022 May 13.


Objective: The long-term favorable safety profile of nusinersen provides an opportunity to consider a higher dose. We report on the relationships between nusinersen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) exposure, biomarker levels, and clinical efficacy.

Methods: The analyses used data from the CS3A and ENDEAR studies of nusinersen in participants with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Steady-state CSF trough (Ctrough ) levels, plasma phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNF-H) levels, body weight, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP INTEND) scores were selected as parameters of interest. A validated population pharmacokinetic (PK) model was applied to predict the nusinersen CSF Ctrough . PK/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) models used nusinersen CSF Ctrough measurements, which were time-matched with CHOP INTEND scores.

Results: Higher nusinersen CSF exposure was associated with a greater decrease in pNF-H levels and greater efficacy, as measured by change in the CHOP INTEND score from baseline. These findings indicate a dose-response relationship between CSF nusinersen levels and treatment response. The higher dose is predicted to lead to approximately a 2.4-fold increase in nusinersen CSF levels with fewer loading doses. PK/PD modeling indicates that a higher concentration of nusinersen may predict an additional 5-point increase in CHOP INTEND score beyond that observed with 12 mg.

Interpretation: Our data indicate that a higher dose of nusinersen may lead to additional clinically meaningful improvement in efficacy when compared with the currently approved 12-mg dose. The efficacy, safety, and PK of a higher nusinersen dose are currently under investigation in the ongoing phase 2/3 DEVOTE study (NCT04089566).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Oligonucleotides / pharmacokinetics
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood* / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Oligonucleotides
  • nusinersen

Associated data


Grants and funding

This work was funded by Biogen .