A Beith resident with an inherited muscle-wasting condition hopes that the recommendation of a new drug to be available on Scotland’s NHS could pave the way for other treatments.

The Herald reported a few weeks ago that Bethan Broster, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, was calling for the drug Spiranza (nusinersen) to be approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). The medication can treat patients with SMA Type 1, which affects infants.

This week, the SMC recommended the routine funding of Spinraza for the treatment of symptomatic SMA Type 1, with discussions continuing to secure access for other forms of the disease.

SMA is a debilitating and lifethreatening rare disease – it is the leading genetic cause of death in infants, with Type 1 children rarely living to see their second birthday.

The disease takes away a person’s ability to walk, eat and ultimately, breathe.

Bethan, 44, said: “Spinraza is not a miracle cure, but it can help people with SMA to have a better quality of life.

"I can only imagine what just a little bit more independence would allow me to do; even just being able to transfer myself from one surface to another would give me so much more freedom.

“The SMC’s decision is amazing news for patients with SMA Type 1, but it is so disappointing for patients and their families who have other forms of this condition.

“But the fight isn’t over, and this decision could pave the way for wider access to the treatment.

“I hope that one day, all children and adults with SMA will have access to this potentially lifechanging drug.”

The acceptance of Spiranza comes after the SMC took just four months to review the evidence and make their decision, marking the first ever treatment option available to those with the most severe form of the disease.