News in brief: Nusinersen listed on PBS for adults with SMA; Aussie RRMS patients take to teriflunomide; Specialist training plan for private hospitals

1 Aug 2022

Nusinersen listed on PBS for adults with SMA

Nusinersen (Spinraza) is now available on the PBS for adults with 5q Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

From 1 August 2022 the anti-sense oligonucleotide therapy is available for adults with SMA and symptom onset prior to their 19th birthday.

Spinraza, marketed by Biogen, has been available on the PBS since June 2018 for children with SMA who present with symptoms prior to three years of age, and since 2020 for infants with pre-symptomatic SMA.

However until now there have been no treatment options available for adults living with SMA, advocates say.

Aussie RRMS patients take to teriflunomide

A real world cohort of Australian patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis who were newly initiated on teriflunomide showed high treatment satisfaction and adherence up to 48 weeks, neurologists from NSW have reported.

Led by Dr Todd Hardy and Professor Steve Vucic of the Department of Neurology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, a prospective, open-label, multicentre, observational study (AubPRO) was conducted in 13 hospital-based neurology clinics around Australia.

The results published in BMJ Neurology Open, showed that patient-reported measures of disability, physical and emotional health remained stably low. Likewise measures of mobility, work capacity and daily life activity improved, and most patients remained relapse-free, the study investigators said.

They said the study showed that findings from the clinical trial setting can be translated into routine clinical practice, and that patient reported outcomes (PROs) could bring a unique perspective to decision making when selecting from the 14 approved disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for patients with RRMS.

The study was funded by Sanofi Australia.

Specialist training plan for private hospitals

Specialist medical colleges are key partners in the Specialist Training Program (STP) as it seeks to extend vocational training for specialist registrars into settings beyond public teaching hospitals, such as private facilities and regional and rural hospitals, the Department of Health says.

In its 2022-2025 Operational Framework for the STP it says $709 million will be provided by the Commonwealth government over and above the funding from state and territory governments for specialist trainees. The STP seeks to fund additional specialist trainee posts and for specialist colleges to develop new training arrangements outside of traditional metropolitan teaching hospitals.

Colleges will play a key role “due to their role in setting professional standards, accrediting training settings and the coordination and support for education and training of future specialists and college fellows,” the Framework document says.

Specialist medical colleges will receive funding to manage training posts, develop networks and systems for training in private and rural settings and for implementing system wide education support.

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