Hecht receives national recognition for MHE research

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Jacqueline Hecht, Ph.D.

Jacqueline Hecht, Ph.D.

Jacqueline Hecht, Ph.D., UT Physicians medical geneticist, has received the 2011 REACH Research Award from the MHE Research Foundation in honor of her tireless dedication to Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (MHE), a genetic bone disorder.

A board certified medical-geneticist specializing in disorders related to bone growth, Dr. Hecht provides diagnostic and genetic counseling to patients and families with a variety of skeletal disorders. She has directed her research toward locating the genes that cause MHE, eventually locating the EXT1 gene on chromosome 8 and later, the EXT2 on chromosome 11. In 1995, she published one of the first studies describing the natural history of MHE as well as a publication describing the development of chondrosarcoma to MHE.

“I was overwhelmed and surprised by the award and happy that I have been able to help so many with this rare but painful genetic disorder,” Dr. Hecht says.

MHE is an autosomal dominant genetic disease in which benign cartilage-capped tumors grown from the growth plates of long bones or from the surface of flat bones throughout the body. They can cause the compression of peripheral nerves or blood vessels, irritation of tendons and muscles, skeletal deformity, short stature, limb length discrepancy, mobility issues, and early onset arthritis. Surgery, physical therapy, and pain management are the only options available to MHE patients.

Hecht received the award at the Multiple Hereditary Exostoses Research Banquet 2011 Sept. 25 at Dyker Beach Golf Course in New York.

Dr. Hecht has written more than 160 peer reviewed scientific publications, 14 of which have been on MHE. She began working with the MHE Research Foundation to support their research efforts in 1999. In 2002, Dr. Hecht was instrumental in bringing about the First International MHE Research Conference and co-organized the second conference in 2005. She also undertook a research study with the MHE Research Foundation to determine the extent and type of pain in MHE patients, and the results were published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

The MHE Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization for the support of researchers, families and physicians dealing with MHE/Multiple Osteochondroma, a rare genetic bone disease. The MHE Research Foundation missions are to advance and support research, clinical information, awareness, and improve the quality of life of those affected by these diseases.

- Darla Brown, Office of Communications

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