Study Shows DNA Test Accurate in Predicting Curve Progression in Patients With Scoliosis

A new study shows that a DNA test to determine the likelihood of curve
progression in children with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), an
abnormal curvature of the spine, is 99% accurate in predicting which children
are least likely to progress to a severe curve.

Researchers analyzed DNA samples and medical records of nearly 700
patients from more than 100 clinical sites throughout the United States. Their
findings appear in the December 1, 2010 online edition of Spine.

“This study demonstrates that for the first time genetic factors
can be used to accurately quantify the risk of scoliosis curve
progression,” Kenneth Ward, MD, study co-author and chief scientific
officer of Axial Biotech Inc., the developer of the SCOLISCORE AIS Prognostic
Test, and the laboratory that conducts the DNA analysis used in the SCOLISCORE
Test, stated in a press release.

The SCOLISCORE Test, when combined with other radiographic and clinical
information obtained at the time of diagnosis, is designed to help reduce that
uncertainty, and may help patients reduce the need for repeated doctor visits,
physical examinations and years of frequent x-rays.

Researchers studied 697 Caucasian patients between the ages of 9 and 13
who had mild, moderate or severe AIS, as documented by medical records. DNA
from their saliva was analyzed using the SCOLISCORE Test, which produces a
score of 1 to 200 indicating a patient’s individual risk for developing a
spinal curve of more than 408. A score of 50 or less is classified as low risk,
51 to 180 is intermediate risk and 181 to 200 is high risk. The score is
calculated based on 53 genetic markers previously identified as being
associated with scoliosis progression and the patient’s current spinal curve or
Cobb angle.

The study found the SCOLISCORE Test had a 99% accuracy rate in
identifying low-risk patients. Study authors advise that although the
SCOLISCORE Test is accurate for patients who score in the intermediate- or
high-risk range, they should be followed closely by a scoliosis specialist
since the study was designed to determine negative predictive value rather than
likelihood of progression.

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