Prestigious ERC grant for scoliosis research with BoneMRI

MRIguidance will deliver radiation free imaging of your scoliosis patients in ambitious research program of the Technical University Eindhoven and the University Medical Center Utrecht.

Utrecht, April 22nd, 2021 – Professor Keita Ito of the Technical University of Eindhoven (TUe) has received an ERC Advanced grant for his research of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. The research project is a collaboration with professor Castelein and dr. Seevinck of the University Medical Center Utrecht. MRIguidance will be the partner for delivering radiation free imaging of the spinal column of the scoliosis patients. Due to the absence of harmful radiation, BoneMRI will make it possible to monitor the development of the growing scoliotic spine which will for the first time allow research into the mechanobiology of AIS.

Advanced ERC grants are aimed at well-established top researchers, who have a recent high-level research track-record and profile which identifies them as leaders in their respective field. “With this generous award from the EU, we hopefully can provide a solution for this cruel disease, which causes disfiguration, mostly in otherwise healthy girls, during a crucial stage in their lives”, says Ito. Scoliosis (or adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), as its most common form is known) is a deformity of the spine that affects 2 to 3 percent of the population. The disease mainly affects girls, who undergo earlier and more rapid growth than boys. It substantially reduces their quality of life and creates a life-long burden of disease.

“Some diseases have a single major cause, like Covid-19 or cystic fibrosis. However, many diseases are a product of many factors”, explains professor Keita Ito of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the TUe and leader of the research project. “We think that scoliosis or spine deformity in adolescence is such a disease, where a perfect storm brews during the rapid early growth spurt in girls.”

“Scoliosis is the reason why we started MRIguidance. The young girls with a terrible disease have to be exposed to radiation in order to be monitored and treated. This significantly increases their chance of cancer at later age. With boneMRI we aim to change this.” Says Peter Seevinck, CSO of MRIguidance and co-applicant, “You can imagine we are very excited to be part of this particular and prestigious research project.”