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Researchers at Axial Biotech Develop a DNA Test for Scoliosis

Study results presented at the Scoliosis Research Society Meeting in Salt

Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at Axial Biotech, Inc., announced today that they have identified specific genetic markers for scoliosis. The data from this research made it possible for the development of a DNA-based prognostic test for spinal curve progression in patients with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

This groundbreaking research was presented to members of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) on Thursday, September 11, 2008 at the 43rd Annual SRS Meeting held in Salt Lake City.

Scoliosis is an inherited disease that occurs when the spine twists and develops a sideways curve. When the cause of scoliosis is unknown, for patients between the age of 9 and 13, it is called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). If an AIS curve progresses, the most widely accepted treatments are serial spinal bracing or spinal fusion surgery.

The scoliosis research, which began in 2003 and ended last month, involved collecting DNA samples from over 9,000 patients from 85 clinical sites throughout the world. All patient samples were analyzed on several technology platforms and specific disease classifications were evaluated by the review of x-rays and medical records provided from physicians who were treating patients enrolled in this study.

"These landmark studies have provided researchers with greater insights into the genetic markers associated with spinal curve progression," stated Ken Ward, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer for Axial Biotech. "The AIS Prognostic Test, which can determine whether a child has a mild or more severe likelihood of curve progression, at the very first presentation of symptoms, may provide comfort to thousands of children and their families every year. This study reinforces the importance of research that may lead to new treatment options for scoliosis patients."

"We believe that the use of DNA-based testing to determine the likelihood of disease progression will initiate a new era of improvements in spine health," says Jim Ogilvie, M.D, Chief Medical Consultant. "From a clinical standpoint, this test delivers the promise of personalized medicine to spine surgeons who will now have the opportunity to determine the likely disease progression for an individual AIS patient, and can make evidence-based recommendations for patient-specific treatment options."

Geneticists at Axial Biotech are currently analyzing the data from the 9,000 patients studied, to identify genetic factors that initially cause this disease, and the company anticipates that soon it may largely understand the specific biology for this aggressive and crippling disease, and hopes to develop molecular treatments for scoliosis patients.

The AIS prognostic test will be marketed under the trade name of ScoliScore(TM) and will be marketed and distributed by DePuy Spine, a Johnson & Johnson company.

About Axial Biotech

Axial Biotech, Inc. develops molecular diagnostic assays and motion preservation technologies for common spinal diseases and disorders. Axial has developed the first DNA-based prognostic test for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Axial is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and is certified to comply with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Founded in 2002, Axial is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

SOURCE Axial Biotech, Inc.
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