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Existing Funding Sources in DCM Research: A Review

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Bestwick, Henry Michael William 
Teh, Jye Quan 
Mowforth, Oliver 
Grodzinski, Ben 


BACKGROUND Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) is a common, disabling condition of symptomatic cervical spinal cord compression that requires significant research advances to improve patient outcomes. AO Spine RECODE-DCM recently identified the top research priorities for DCM. To effectively address these priorities, appropriate funding of DCM research is essential.

OBJECTIVE This review characterises current funding in DCM research to consider its significance and highlight future opportunities.

METHODS A systematic review of 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 organisation type. A grant search was also conducted using (Digital Science Ltd, London, United Kingdom).

RESULTS 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, China (n=63). The USA (n=242) funded the most DCM research, followed by China (n=209) and Japan (n=116). Funding in the USA was primarily provided by corporate or non-profit organisations (60.3%); in China, by institutions (99.5%). data showed 180 DCM research grants explicitly awarded, with a total value of US$45.6 million since 1996.

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



cervical cord, degeneration, disc herniation, myelopathy, ossification posterior longitudinal ligament, patient and public involvement, research funding, spinal cord, spondylosis, stenosis, systematic review

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Interactive Journal of Medical Research

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JMIR Publications
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NIHR300696)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (CS-2015-15-023)
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