A Salt Lake company, Axial Biotech Inc., has identified specific genetic markers for scoliosis. And it's using the knowledge in a DNA-based prognostic test for spinal curve progression patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Axial Biotech made the announcement Thursday morning during the annual meeting of the Scoliosis Research Society, which drew hundreds of spine experts to Salt Lake City this week.

Scoliosis is a genetic disease that occurs when the spine twists and curves sideways. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is that of unknown cause in youths ages 9 to 13. It's most often treated with spinal bracing or fusion therapy.

The company collected DNA samples from 9,000 patients in 85 clinical sites worldwide. The samples were analyzed and specific disease classifications were evaluated through review of X-rays and medical records.

The test that has been developed can determine if a child has a mild or more severe likelihood of curve progression, chief scientific officer Dr. Ken Ward said in a news release about the test.

Researchers at the company are also analyzing data they hope will lead to better understanding of genetic factors that cause the disease. They hope that will lead to molecular treatments.

The new test will be marketed as ScoliScore by DePuy Spine, a Johnson & Johnson company.