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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Tuesday, February 6, 2018 Tuesday, February 6, 2018 4:19 PM - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 4:19 PM

Portland Shriners Hospital research team discovers innovative new biomarker that mirrors bone growth velocity

The discovery of biomarker CXM allows physicians to instantaneously track growth and health without waiting long periods of time between check-ups

Researchers at the Portland Shriners Hospital have discovered a new biomarker that allows physicians to determine bone growth velocity instantaneously. William Horton, M.D., director of research – emeritus, at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, led the team that made this discovery. A paper describing the discovery and its relevance to growth was published on December 6, 2017, in Science Translational Medicine, a prestigious journal focused on research of interest to the translational medicine community.

“This finding could dramatically affect how clinicians treat a number of growth and bone disorders,” said Dr. Horton. “Until now, no one has figured out how to track growth as it is happening. There has been a large clinical need to determine the velocity of growth without having to wait 6–12 months.”

Dr. Horton and his research team studied skeletal development, which involves a process called endochondral ossification. The team identified a fragment of type X collagen that is released into the blood as a by-product of endochondral ossification. This biomarker CXM, (designated for collagen X biomarker) corresponds to the rate of bone growth at the time of testing.

According to Dr. Horton, CXM is expected to have its greatest impact on the care for infants and children with bone growth disorders, especially, for optimizing growth promoting therapies. The response to such therapies may potentially be determined within a few weeks, rather than months, as is currently done. The utility of CXM may also extend to managing other conditions, such as fracture healing, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, and cancer, in adults as well as children.

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

To access the full article, please visit Science Translational Medicine.

Media contacts: Colleen Rogers and Davene Dietzler,;; 503-221-3466; 971-544-3378