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Genetic Marker Test Score Predicts Low-Risk Scoliosis

Last Updated: December 17, 2010.

A saliva-based test for 53 genetic markers can identify patients at low risk of progression to severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, according to research published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A saliva-based test for 53 genetic markers can identify patients at low risk of progression to severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), according to research published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

Using the SCOLISCORE Test, Kenneth Ward, M.D., of Axial Biotech Inc. in Salt Lake City, and colleagues analyzed DNA in saliva samples from 697 patients aged 9 to 13 with mild, moderate, or severe AIS. This test gives a score of one to 200 based on 53 genetic markers which correspond to a patient's individual risk.

The researchers found that SCOLISCORE test scores of less than 41 had a negative predictive value for developing a spinal curve of more than 40 degrees of 100, 99, and 97 percent in low-risk females, higher-risk females, and high-risk males, respectively. The authors caution that, although the SCOLISCORE Test appears to be accurate for patients who score in the intermediate- or high-risk range, the study was designed to determine negative predictive value rather than likelihood of progression, so those patients should still be followed closely by a scoliosis specialist.

"This study demonstrates that for the first time genetic factors can be used to accurately quantify the risk of scoliosis curve progression," Ward said in a statement. "Physicians never had this kind of information before. Now that they do, physicians can better personalize treatment plans and provide peace of mind to patients and their families."

Ward is chief scientific officer of Axial Biotech Inc., the developer of the test and the laboratory that conducts the DNA analysis used in the SCOLISCORE Test. Corporate/industry funds were received in support of this work.

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