Researchers at Northwestern Memorial, Chicago, have launched the first-ever National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial for spinal deformity. The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of surgical and nonsurgical treatments in people with adult scoliosis or curvature of the spine. Researchers also hope to identify important factors related to patient reported outcomes such as pain, activity, and appearance.

"Because of the trial’s intensive focus on outcomes, our hope is that the results will help drive decision-making for physicians and surgeons that work with scoliosis patients," said Tyler Koski, MD, principal investigator of the trial, neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement.

No studies currently exist for this group of patients, according to Northwestern. "There is a significant unmet need in determining an evidence-based course of treatment for adults with scoliosis," said Koski.

Northwestern Memorial is the only hospital in Illinois and one of five sites nationwide participating in the study. The trial will enroll hundreds of patients over a 5-year period and will follow the subjects through their course of treatment, which may include surgery, or nonsurgical treatment options such as physical therapy, exercise, injections, and medication, Study participants will also be asked to fill out periodic health questionnaires and will have routine X-rays as part of their participation.

Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, affects approximately six million people in the United States and can limit activity, cause debilitating pain, reduce respiratory function, and diminish self-esteem.

For more information about the clinical trial call (312) 695-0482.

[Source: Northwestern Memorial Hospital]