Spinal-Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (SBMA)

Spinal-Bulbar Muscular Atrophy


MDA leads the search for treatments and therapies for spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). The Association also provides comprehensive supports and expert clinical care for those living with SBMA.

In this section, you’ll find up-to-date information about spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy, as well as many helpful resources. This information has been compiled with input from researchers, physicians and people affected by the disease.

Research Briefs: CMT, CMS, DMD/BMD, FA, Pompe disease, SBMA

MDA Awards $13.5 Million in Research Grants

The Muscular Dystrophy Association has awarded 44 grants totaling $13.5 million to support research efforts aimed at advancing understanding of disease processes and uncovering new strategies for treatments and cures of muscular dystrophy and the more than 40 other diseases in the Association’s program.

The new grants were reviewed by MDA’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Committees, and approved by MDA’s Board of Directors at its December meeting.

Overactive Protein Causes Motor Neuron Death in SBMA

Overactive function of normal androgen receptor protein and its interaction with disease-modifying "partner proteins" has been implicated as the specific underlying cause of motor neuron (nerve cell) degeneration and death in spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, or Kennedy disease).

Leuprorelin Fails to Improve Swallowing in SBMA

 Reducing testosterone levels in a large-scale trial in men with spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, or Kennedy disease) did not significantly affect swallowing function, despite earlier indications that it might improve this aspect of the disease.

MDA Awards More Than $14 Million in Research Grants

MDA has awarded 38 new research grants totaling more than $14 million and covering more than a dozen neuromuscular diseases. 

MDA's Board of Directors met in Los Angeles July 16, where it reviewed and approved the new grants based on recommendations from the MDA Scientific and Medical Advisory Committees. Grants were scored and recommended for approval based on the capabilities of the applicant, the scientific merit of the project, and the proposal's relevance to developing treatments for the disease. The effective start date for all grants was July 1, 2010.

Rescuing SBMA-Affected Muscles

A protein known as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) may provide a new lead in the treatment of spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), also known as Kennedy disease.

A multinational team coordinated by MDA research grantee Maria Pennuto at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, has found that having extra IGF1 genes seems to improve muscle strength and function in mice bred to have an SBMA-like disease.

Denise Thomas: Disabilities Advocate

Right out of high school, Denise Thomas began volunteering to help people with disabilities find employment. Now, nearly two decades later, she’s more involved with helping than ever, and she’s become a familiar face to Washington-area residents and a force for good in the nation's capital.

SMBA Research: Can This Cell Be Saved?

A defense mechanism called “autophagy” that neurons (nerve cells) use to protect themselves from dangerous misfolded proteins may hold the key to developing treatments for spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, or Kennedy disease) and perhaps similar neurodegenerative diseases, new research shows.