The research focus of A. Noelle Larson, M.D., is on the function and molecular mechanisms of the pediatric spine and growth plate. Better understanding of growth plate disorders will help to develop effective and simpler treatments for children with spine and limb deformity.
Dr. Larson's work also focuses on studies of long-term outcomes to evaluate the value and quality of current pediatric orthopedic treatments using a combination of clinical studies, health care economics and medical modeling.
- Long-term outcomes for treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions. Dr. Larson led minimum 20-year follow-up studies on scoliosis, hip dysplasia and other hip conditions via a National Institutes of Health prospective study.
- Early-onset scoliosis. She contributes to a multicenter registry for young patients with scoliosis and other spinal deformities.
- Nonfusion and guided growth techniques for scoliosis treatment. Dr. Larson investigates techniques including anterior vertebral body tethering, Mehta casting and magnetically controlled growing rods.
- Molecular biology and epigenetics of growth plate and spine disorders.
- Role and utilization of spine implants in fusion surgeries. She is a leader and co-principal investigator for the Minimize Implants Maximize Outcomes (MIMO) Clinical Trial, a multicenter randomized study evaluating effects of spinal implants on surgical results.
- Medical modeling and quality assessment in pediatric orthopedics.
- Epigenetics of the growth plate and spine.
- Low-dose radiation techniques. Dr. Larson studies techniques for scoliosis and intraoperative imaging using low-dose image guidance and navigation.
- Avascular necrosis and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Dr. Larson collaborates with International Perthes Study Group to advance care for patients with this disease.
Significance to patient care
There is a significant need for revolutionary approaches to the treatment of pediatric orthopedic disorders. Many treatments are unchanged in the last 50 years, despite significant advances in science and medicine over this time period. Progress has been deferred due to a lack of understanding of the biological mechanisms driving growth plate disorders. Dr. Larson works to improve scientific understanding, which will aid in the development of less extensive surgeries or even drug therapies to treat disabling pediatric conditions.
There is significant uncertainty regarding the efficacy and durability of many current surgical treatments in pediatric orthopedics. Long-term outcome studies are needed to determine which patients most benefit from surgical intervention in childhood.
- Member, Evidence-Based Medicine Task Force, Scoliosis Research Society, 2014-2016
- Asian Pacific Traveling Fellowship, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, 2015
- Recipient, Accelerated Regenerative Medicine Award for "Restarting the Damaged Growth Plate: Utilization of a Biomimetic Scaffold Seeded with Adipose Derived Stem Cells," 2015
- Hibbs Award Nominee for Long-Term Scoliosis Outcomes Studies, Scoliosis Research Society, 2014 and 2015
- Member, Voting Panel for Treatment of Supracondylar Humerus Fractures, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2014
- Recipient, Kreyling Career Development Award for "Epigenetic Deregulation in Scoliosis: Novel Diagnostic and Therapeutic Implications," 2014