Degenerative cervical myelopathy research

Bestwick et al. reviewed current funding in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy research and highlighted future research funding opportunities.

A systematic literature search of the Web of Science for “cervical AND myelopathy” was conducted. Papers exclusively studying DCM with declared funding and published between January 1, 1995, and March 21, 2020, were considered eligible. Funding sources were classified by country of origin and organization type. A grant search was also conducted using (Digital Science Ltd).

A total of 621 papers were included, with 300 unique funding bodies. The top funders were AO Spine (n=87); National Institutes of Health, USA (n=63); and National Natural Science Foundation of China (n=63). Funding sources in the USA (n=242) supported the most DCM research, followed by China (n=209) and Japan (n=116). Funding in the USA was primarily provided by corporate or nonprofit organizations (146/242, 60.3%), while in China, the majority of funding was from institutions (208/209, 99.5%). gives an estimate for the total declared grant funding awards for DCM-specific research. Data here showed 180 grants awarded specifically for DCM research, with a total value of US $45.6 million since 1996.

DCM funding appears to be predominantly from the USA, China, and Japan, aligning with areas of high DCM research activity and underpinning the importance of funding for increasing research capacity. The existing funding sources differ from medical research in general, representing opportunities for future investment in DCM 1)

A systematic review of MEDLINE and Embase for “Cervical” AND “Myelopathy” was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Full-text papers in English, exclusively studying DCM, published between January 1, 1995 and August 08, 2020 were considered eligible. Extracted data for each study included authors, journal, year of publication, location, sample size and study design. Each study was then analysed for alignment to the established research priorities.

Results: In total, 2261 papers with a total of 1,323,979 patients were included. Japan published more papers (625) than any other country. Moreover, 2005 (89%) of 2261 papers were aligned to at least one research priority. The alignment of papers to the different research priorities was unequal, with 1060 papers on the most researched priority alone (#15, predictors of outcome after treatment), but only 64 total papers on the least-researched 10 priorities. The comparative growth of research in the different priorities was also unequal, with some priorities growing and others plateauing over the past 5 years.

Discussion: Research activity in DCM continues to grow, and the focus of this research remains on surgery. The established research priorities therefore represent a new direction for the field 2)

Bestwick H, Teh JQ, Mowforth O, Grodzinski B, Kotter M, Davies B. Existing Funding Sources in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy Research: Scoping Review. Interact J Med Res. 2022 Jun 30;11(1):e36194. doi: 10.2196/36194. PMID: 35771617.
Grodzinski B, Bestwick H, Bhatti F, Durham R, Khan M, Partha Sarathi CI, Teh JQ, Mowforth O, Davies B. Research activity amongst DCM research priorities. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2021 Feb 24. doi: 10.1007/s00701-021-04767-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33625603.
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