Ground Breaking New Test Available in Lititz, Pennsylvania to Predict the Progression of Scoliosis

September 29, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
A new genetic test that predicts the likelihood of curve progression in patients diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is available in the office of Dr. Clayton Stitzel at the Lancaster Spinal Health Center at 504 West Orange Street in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Researchers at Axial Biotech developed the Scoliscore Prognostic Test, which uses a patient's saliva to identify 53 different genetic markers that have been shown in clinical trials to predict the likelihood of curve progression. The result of the Scoliscore Test serves is a guide for health care providers to optimize the treatment of scoliosis.

Criteria for using the Scoliscore Test are patients with newly diagnosed AIS between the ages of 9 and 13 years with a spinal curve of 10 to 25 degrees. Since a persons DNA does not change, the test is only given once. The Scoliscore Test has a 99% Negative Predictive Value. (A Negative Predictive Value refers to the probability that a patient with a negative test result is free of the condition for which the test was conducted.)

"Genetic testing in scoliosis is the breakthrough we have been waiting for in the world of scoliosis. Knowing the patient's genetic predisposition and developing new methods of eliminating environmental factors that cause the condition will allow us to eliminate the need for bracing and surgery for 99% of the scoliosis population and may eventually even lead to a cure for the disease," said Dr. Clayton Stitzel, owner and Clinic Director of the Lancaster Spinal Health Center.

A scoliosis patient provides a saliva sample that is sent to Axial Biotech's laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. The results of the test are available in approximately 2 to 3 weeks with the results given to the patient by the health care provider that ordered the test. The score is set in a range from 1 to 200. The range is further broken into risk categories of low, intermediate and high. An individualized scoliosis treatment plan can be developed by better understanding the likelihood of risk progression, provide by the Scoliscore Test. Many treatment options are available, including an Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention (ESSI) Protocol that was developed by the CLEAR Institute, a non-profit group from Minnesota.

Dr. Stitzel further explains that, "The current standards for scoliosis treatment are based on the patients' age and Cobb angle to determine risk of progression…research has indicated that this method is no better than flipping a coin. The Scoliscore Test is 99% accurate in determining the genetic predisposition for curve progression. This provides us a 'heads up' notice and allows us to provide the most appropriate level of treatment, at the most appropriate time, with the least amount of invasiveness and x-rays exposures."

According to Axial Biotech, most insurance companies have been paying for cost of the Scoliscore Tests. Axial Biotech uses well-established molecular diagnostic CPT codes when billing for the Scoliscore Test. Insurance companies recognize these codes and have paid the vast majority of insurance claims. For patients with no insurance or limited income, help might be available through Axial Biotech's SHARP Patient Assistance Program. Information about financial help for patient's families to pay for Scoliscore Tests can be found on their web site at or by calling (877) 742-7710.

Scoliosis is a condition that occurs in about 4.5 percent of the population (about 5 people out of 100) and occurs more often in women than men. Scoliosis occurs when the spine of the back forms a C or an S shaped curve. A few symptoms of scoliosis are back pain, leg pain, hip pain, and altered walking gait. The condition is often first diagnosed between the ages of 9 and 15. About 9 out of 10 cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning the precise cause is not known.

About Axial Biotech

Axial Biotech is a privately held company founded in 2002 by a group of internationally recognized spine surgeons and geneticists. Axial Biotech is focused on developing and commercializing genetic tests and treatment solutions for spinal disorders.

About Lancaster Spinal Health Center

Dr. Clayton Stitzel is a Lancaster county, Pennsylvania native. He is a graduate of Manheim Central High School. He received his bachelor's degree in Kinesiology (the advanced study of biomechanics) from Penn State University. Dr. Stitzel is earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. While attending Palmer College of Chiropractic, he received research honors and was inducted into Palmer's research fraternity. Dr. Stitzel is one of nine health care professionals in the country that have received the most prestigious scoliosis treatment designation from the CLEAR Institute- scoliosis intensive care certified. Dr. Stitzel is a nationally and internationally recognized lecturer within the scoliosis field, speaking recently in Singapore and England. He is the co-developer of the scoliosis traction chair. Dr. Stitzel is the owner and Clinic Director of the Lancaster Spinal Health Center where he has practiced for almost 9 years.