Clubfoot Research Award

Clubfoot Research Award

SPARKS (Sport Aiding medical Research for KidS) has provided a team from the University of Aberdeen with an award of £122,187 to fund unique research into the causes of clubfoot. The project will develop the research already undertaken in the teams’ Scottish Talipes Study, which was funded by a SPARKS grant of £30,033 in 1998.

Medical Geneticists Zosia Miedzybrodzka and Neva Haites, Epidemiologist Linda Sharp, Molecular Biologist David St Clair and Orthopaedic Surgeons Nicola Maffulli, Simon Barker and David Chesney will be collecting and studying DNA samples from children with clubfoot from the UK and the Netherlands to try to discover the causes of clubfoot. The project will be the only research of its kind in Europe.

“With the progress of the Human Genome Project, we have a real opportunity to identify genes that contribute to the cause of clubfoot” said lead investigator Zosia Miedzybrodzka.

One in 1000 British children is affected with clubfoot, or idiopathic congenital talipes equinovarus (ICTEV), a disorder of the development of the foot and lower leg. Some do well following treatment, but a significant proportion continue to have problems. Previous medical studies have suggested that there is a strong genetic component to clubfoot, but the specific genes involved are unknown.

The study will build on the teams’ existing collection of DNA samples from children with clubfoot and their families. The UK support group STEPS (The National Association for Children with

Lower Limb Abnormalities), will be inviting its members to participate in the study by providing saliva DNA samples and completing a questionnaire. Likewise, the Dutch clubfoot support group VOK, will be helping the team to collect samples from the Netherlands. Samples will be studied to identify the genes involved, and then questionnaire data will be used to try to identify environmental factors that interact with changes within genes to cause clubfoot.

Further information from:

Website for STEPS, the National Association for Children with Lower Limb Abnormalities: www.steps-charity.org.uk

Website for SPARKS, www.sparks.org.uk

ABOUT SPARKS

Every year one child in thirty is born with a disability that may affect their independence for life. SPARKS aims to help children to be born healthy and to stay healthy. Supported by Britain's leading sports personalities SPARKS funds vital medical research and equipment to find cures for childhood conditions including premature birth, bone disease, brain damage in babies, infant cancer and muscle paralysis.

To join top celebrities at one of SPARKS fundraising, sporting or social events or to find out more about SPARKS, call Helen Loxton at SPARKS on 020 7931 8899, email: or visit our website

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email a.ramsay@admin.abdn.ac.uk.

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