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OREF/SRS/POSNA spinal growth research grants awarded

by OREF | Jul 13, 2020
The Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) announced today that research grants of $240,000 have been awarded to Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, and Carol A. Wise, PhD, of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas. Both investigators received an OREF/SRS/POSNA Transform Practice – Spinal Growth Grant.

Dr. Weinstein’s study, Bracing vs Casting in the Treatment of Idiopathic Early-Onset Scoliosis, seeks to establish the relative short-term effectiveness of casting and bracing in the treatment of idiopathic early-onset scoliosis (IEOS, onset at <3 years of age). Despite widespread use, neither of these approaches has been rigorously tested in the IEOS population, leading to the current lack of consensus within the orthopaedic community about the preferred approach.

Dr. Wise’s study, Translating Genomics into Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS) Clinical Care, addresses a condition that encompasses a heterogeneous population representing many underlying genetic etiologies, all with potential for the most severe scoliosis phenotypes when untreated. Perhaps the most frustrating are the so-called idiopathic “infantile” scoliosis (IIS) patients who are severely disfigured but apparently healthy otherwise. This pilot study seeks to discover novel EOS disease genes and uncover new underlying etiologies in this unique patient population.

OREF Research Grants Committee (RGC) chair, Francis Y. Lee, MD, PhD, noted, “The 2020 OREF/SRS/POSNA Transform Practice - Spinal Growth Research Grant program is an exceptional grant with respect to closing critical knowledge gaps in spine deformity in children. It provides significant funding for studies that have been vetted through OREF’s NIH-level peer review process.” Dr. Lee also expressed his gratitude to Brian Snyder, MD, PhD, an NIH-funded clinician scientist and the OREF Program Director for this grant, stating, “Dr. Snyder did an outstanding job leading the peer-review process and holding a study section review. His contribution to the grant selection process was invaluable and it was an honor to work with him.”

The grant is part of OREF’s Collaborative Research Agenda program, which seeks to bring together stakeholders who share an interest in improving orthopaedic care to identify, prioritize and fund topics that are especially relevant to clinical practice today. “This grant is highly important as the SRS seeks to collaborate and direct research in priority areas. There is nothing more important than improving the treatment of deformity in our youngest patients,” said Paul D. Sponseller, MD, MBA, SRS President.

POSNA President, Michael Vitale, MD, MPH, noted, “The clinical knowledge garnered from these two grants, as well as from the myriad grant applications which could not be funded at this time but which still may come to fruition, will serve to advance the evolution of care in this space. OREF, POSNA and SRS are proud to be able to partner to create this opportunity.”

Funding for the grants was provided by Dr. John and Mrs. Kim Callaghan, SRS, POSNA, Medtronic Inc., DePuy Synthes and Zimmer Biomet.

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