CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Inauguration of a World-Leading Musculoskeletal Disorders Laboratory


    The Viscogliosi Molecular Genetics Laboratory of Musculoskeletal
    Disorders

    MONTREAL, Nov. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center
is proud to inaugurate its state-of-the art laboratory dedicated to the
molecular genetics of musculoskeletal disorders. The laboratory with its
global infrastructure is like no other in the world. Its aims will be twofold:
to develop innovative diagnostic tools and therapeutic treatments to prevent
and stop disease progression through tailored pharmacotherapies.
    Dr. Alain Moreau runs the Laboratory whose mission is to develop new
molecular diagnostic tools for the early screening of scoliosis and other
disorders that affect large numbers of children and adults and for which there
are no tests. In addition, this state-of-the-art infrastructure will enable
Dr. Moreau and his team to develop novel therapeutics aimed at preventing
scoliosis or stopping its progression at an early stage. This represents a
remarkable breakthrough leading to customized medicine that will revolutionize
the treatment of scoliosis as well as other diseases such as osteoarthritis
and osteoporosis. With all these advances, Dr. Moreau considers that "we are
now, for the first time, in the exceptional position of being able to foresee
the eradication of the disease in the very near future with the development of
the first drugs within ten years' time." Dr. Guy A. Rouleau, Director of the
CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, states that "Dr. Moreau's research work
will lead to significant advances in the field of musculoskeletal disorders by
preparing today for the medicine of tomorrow. In fact, his activities in the
field of genomics are going to lead to a type of medicine that is adapted to a
patient's genetic profile in order to deliver a targeted therapeutic response
tailored to an individual's health problems."
    The Viscogliosi Laboratory's facilities include high-tech equipment that
is used for genetic profiling to identify sub-groups of patients for whom
customized prevention programs can be prescribed. A robotic platform that
analyzes biochemical tests for 500 patients within four hours will also make
it possible to identify various potential therapeutic agents.

    VISCOGLIOSI: A LONG-TIME PARTNER OF THE CHU SAINTE-JUSTINE

    "We have partnered with the Sainte-Justine UHC Research Center for years
now," says Marc R. Viscogliosi, Chairman and CEO Paradigm Spine, and Principal
of Viscogliosi Brothers, LLC. Dr. Moreau and his teammates have long proven
their skills. Their recent advances in understanding musculoskeletal diseases
have revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis. As a result,
there have already been major improvements in the quality of life of the
children. With this $1.6 million donation to the Sainte-Justine Hospital
Foundation, we take pride in being part of Dr. Moreau's research as a major
contributor by providing him with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratory."

    SCOLIOSIS IN A NUTSHELL

    Scoliosis is a spinal deformity that affects four in a hundred people,
particularly the young between 10 and 18 years of age. In addition to spinal
deformities, this disease may have serious consequences for a patient's
health, such as a loss of balance and spatial perception, a lowering of bone
density, a reduction in muscle tone and the early onset of osteoporosis in
certain adult patients.
    On average, 30% of children whose parents suffer from scoliosis will
themselves later develop the disease. Nevertheless, 85% of scoliosis cases
occur sporadically in children without any family history of the disorder. The
Viscogliosi Laboratory will, therefore, offer two additional tests to detect
the risk of developing scoliosis in asymptomatic children. One of these tests
makes it possible to assign patients to one of three specific groups, which
then makes it possible to identify the best treatment for each group by
developing customized therapeutic approaches. The collaboration of families in
this research program is of great value because parents can actively
participate in the monitoring of treatment or the prevention of the disease
through the transfer of knowledge and consulting services. In addition to the
unique, high-performance equipment in the Laboratory, the success of such an
endeavor is the result of the confidence that young patients and their parents
have in Sainte-Justine's team of researchers and specialists.
    The transfer of knowledge to pediatricians will also be very helpful,
since they presently lack early screening tests for children at risk of
developing scoliosis and tools to identify in which patients the disorder is
likely to progress quickly.
    It should be remembered that in 2006 Dr. Alain Moreau made a major
breakthrough in the field by developing the first diagnostic test for the
early screening of scoliosis as well as for the extent to which the disease
will develop. The clinical validation of the tests, which started in 2006,
will finish in 2008. The tests are due to hit the market in 2009.

    INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM

    Many countries including Italy, China, Denmark, Switzerland, France, the
UK and the USA are involved in activities at the Viscogliosi Laboratory. The
CHU Sainte-Justine will act as a reference and coordination center and
supervise all the research. This extensive collaborative network will make it
possible to share data and cross-tabulate results for various populations
around the globe.

    The Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center is the largest mother-child
center in Canada and one of the four most important pediatric centers in all
of North America. Sainte-Justine employs more than 4,000 people. Affiliated
with the University of Montreal, the CHU Sainte-Justine is the largest
pediatric training center in Quebec and it plays a leading role in Canada. Its
Research Center has 178 investigators and more than 400 students. The CHU
Sainte-Justine is a recognized leader in many fields including perinatology,
neurodevelopment, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and movement sciences.
Sainte-Justine celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2007.



For further information: Mélanie Dallaire, Communications Advisor, Media
Relations CHU Sainte-Justine, (514) 345-7707 or 4663,
melanie.dallaire.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca; Nicole Saint-Pierre, Communications
Advisor, CHU Sainte-Justine, (514) 345-4931, Ext. 2555,
nicole_saint-pierre@ssss.gouv.qc.ca; Source: CHU Sainte-Justine