Physician Partners of America, a Tampa based healthcare company, announces that Neil Ellis M.D. has effectively administered a new drug called Spinraza. This drug provides relief to patients who live with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). While there is no treatment for the genetic disease, Spinraza can provide the patient with strength and energy.
Spinraza is a new treatment developed specifically for SMA. It is extremely costly and not every physician is able to administer it successfully, as the patient’s contorted body and orthopedic hardware make the spine difficult to inject.
“A lot of the patients had extensive hardware placed often at very young age to help with trunk strength,” says Dr. Ellis. “There’s an element of bony overgrowth and ton of metal that has been present for a long part of their life, so accessing any of this can be quite tricky.”
Although Dr. Ellis is a pain management physician at PPOA’s Tampa- Habana location, and had never administered Spinraza before, that specialty is used to doing spinal injections in patients with hardware in their backs.
“Once you’ve injected Spinraza successfully, you can mimic the technique on future patients. Each patient is unique, of course, with unique anatomical challenges, but each has the same characteristics.” Dr. Ellis said.
The patient, Ben Carpenter, 24, of Orlando, has been in search of a physician to inject the treatment. After a long search, he found Dr. Ellis to inject Spinraza. He understands the drug will not reverse the effects of condition, but already, he feels a difference.
“It has improved my grip strength, I can hold my head up a lot more and I have more energy during the day,” says Carpenter, a mechanical engineer.
Like other patients, Ben has received four high “loading” doses of Spinraza every two weeks for about three months. He will then receive “maintenance” doses every four months for the rest of his life.
“I never thought they’d find a treatment in my lifetime,” says Carpenter. “I am so grateful to Dr. Ellis and the team at Habana. They’ve been fantastic to work with.”
About Physician Partners of America
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Physician Partners of America (PPOA) is a fast-growing national healthcare company committed to fighting the opioid epidemic through interventional pain management and cutting-edge treatment modalities. It manages operations of a wide range of medical practices and ancillary services. These include pain management, minimally invasive laser spine surgery, orthopedics, regenerative medicine, personal injury and Workers’ Compensation. It also operates AAAHC-accredited ambulatory surgery centers and procedure suites. For more information, please visit physicianpartnersofamerica.com.