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Can Osteoporosis be Reversed Using a New Bone-Forming Growth Factor

By jeremyc | December 30, 2016

Researchers have found a new agent that promotes bone-formation and might be able to reverse bone loss because of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease in which bones become weak and are more susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis is more likely to affect the hip, spin or wrist bone, but other bones in the body can break too.

It is estimated that about 54 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis. The risk of osteoporosis increases after 50. Studies suggest that about one in two women and one in four men age 50 or above will suffer a bone break because of osteoporosis.

Current treatments for this bone disease focuses on preventing and treating bone breaks as well as taking medicines like Bisphosphonates to increase bone strength. Estrogen therapy is recommended for certain patients.

Most of the current treatments aim to slow down bone loss, instead of promoting growth of new bone. One agent, called PTH, however, promotes new bone. But this agent is not recommended to be used for more than two years, because its prolonged use might increase the risk of bone cancer.

Now researchers have found another bone-forming growth factor, which they call Osteolectin.  For this study, the researchers set out to test if osteolectin has the ability to reverse bone loss in mice with osteoporosis.

The researchers found that osteolectin reversed bone loss in mice with osteoporosis. The effects of this agent were similar to that of PTH.

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