Orthopaedic Institute for Children Researcher Visits Capitol Hill to Urge for Increased Funding to Cure and Treat America’s No. 1 Health Condition

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#boneandjointdisorders–Over 100 million Americans each year identify bone and joint disorders
as their No. 1 health concern, but funding for research to find cures
and treatments remains inadequate.

With that as a backdrop, Karen Lyons, Ph.D., of the Orthopaedic
Institute for Children (OIC), joined fellow researchers, surgeons and
patients on Capitol Hill recently to help raise awareness about
debilitating and costly musculoskeletal disorders and to urge Congress
to appropriate $34.5 billion in FY 2017 to the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) and to support the Next Generation Researchers Act.

“Nearly one in every three Americans has a bone or joint condition
requiring medical attention; but the funding currently available for
research into new and better treatments, preventative measures, and
diagnostic testing does not match the burden of disease,” said Dr.
Lyons. “Scientific and medical innovation depends on our ability to
invest in the next generation of clinician investigators and basic
scientists. The need for support and funding has never been greater.”

Musculoskeletal diseases and disorders are the most common health
condition in the United States, costing the U.S. economy $874 billion
annually and representing 5.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic
product. Despite these numbers, funding for orthopaedic research has
grown slowly and today represents less than 2 percent of the NIH budget
at a time when musculoskeletal conditions are expected to escalate due
to the aging population.

Dr. Lyons’ visit was part of the American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons Research Capitol Hill Days, which encourages members of
Congress to keep musculoskeletal research a high priority on the
political and fiscal agenda. Orthopaedic patients representing a diverse
range of ages and conditions offered legislators a personal viewpoint
about how research advancements and new treatments and surgical
techniques have benefited their health and overall quality of life.

One such patient, seven-year-old Sona Brinkman, accompanied her parents
and Dr. Lyons to make a personal appeal to lawmakers to increase funding
for orthopaedic research. Currently, Dr. Lyons is involved in
breakthrough research being funded by OIC that is creating new hope for
Sona and other children afflicted with a rare genetic disorder that
turns muscle, tendons and ligaments into bone, thus constraining
movement and ultimately leading to loss of mobility. For those afflicted
with this deadly disease, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP),
median age of survival is 40 years or potentially less due to delayed
diagnosis, trauma and infections.

Sona’s parents – father, Kyle Brinkman, and mom, Dr. Aarti Brinkman, a
family practitioner – are working with the International Fibrodysplasia
Ossificans Progressiva Association and have established a competitive
research grant program to accelerate the development of potential FOP
therapies. Dr. Lyons serves as a scientific advisory board member for
the program, which she describes as “a great example of how
collaboration between a patient’s family, scientists and an organization
like OIC can help forward the discovery of promising therapeutics for a
disabling pediatric orthopaedic disease.”

About Orthopaedic Institute for Children

Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) was founded in 1911 as Los
Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. Focused solely on musculoskeletal
conditions in children, Orthopaedic Institute for Children receives
60,000 patient visits each year. In alliance with UCLA Health and with
the support of the OIC Foundation, we advance pediatric orthopaedics
worldwide through outstanding patient care, medical education and
research. Our locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Westwood
and Calexico treat the full spectrum of pediatric orthopaedic disorders
and injuries. For more information, visit us at ortho-institute.org.

Contacts

for Orthopaedic Institute for Children
Camille Strickland,
213-742-1501
CStrickland@mednet.ucla.edu