Researchers at Scottish Rite for Children and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center were awarded a five-year, $6.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue research into the underlying causes of idiopathic scoliosis. It is estimated that three million children in the United States are affected with scoliosis. Using a unique, multidisciplinary approach, genetics research is getting to the fundamental causes of the condition that will lead to less invasive therapies and prevention.
The grant will fund a multisite program titled “Developmental Mechanisms of Idiopathic Scoliosis” to understand the biological causes of idiopathic scoliosis in order to develop future treatments. Carol Wise, PhD, director of molecular genetics and basic research at Scottish Rite, will lead the program.
“Idiopathic scoliosis has been recognized as a problem for children around the world for centuries, and yet its causes have eluded understanding,” Wise said. “This support will allow our collaborative team to validate new scoliosis models we have developed and to work toward alternative treatments. As well, information developed by this program will be shared with other researchers and the public.”
The grant is a renewal of an original award received in 2016. Wise and Jonathan J. Rios, PhD, the assistant director of Molecular Genetics, have also received support from the NIH Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program to identify new genetic risk factors in approximately 400 members of families with a history of scoliosis.