Every once in a while, scientists set out to study one thing and discover another entirely.
Consider the case of this seizure-medicine turned hot-flash therapy – or more recently, URMC scientists’ discovery that an already-FDA-approved osteoporosis medication (human parathyroid hormone, sold under the brand name Forteo) can potentially be repurposed as a cartilage-rebuilding agent for millions of adults grappling with wear-and-tear arthritis.
Admittedly, there’s a long road to human clinical trials and hypothetical approval, but if the drug were approved for this new application, it would be the first disease-modifying (not just symptom-masking) therapy for osteoarthritis. And that could mean a whole new lease on life for the 67 million American adults (a staggering 25 percent of the U.S. adult population!) projected to have the painful, degenerative joint condition by 2030.
To hear more about this exciting research, we’ve asked Dr. Randy Rosier to talk a bit about the coincidental discovery process – and recent laboratory trials that have given him hope for the drug’s new potential.
*Please note that several URMC researchers, including Rosier, have a U.S. Provisional Patent application related to this work.
URMC Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation is the largest, most comprehensive orthopaedic group in the region. Boasting over 40 board-certified or board-qualified doctors, we cover every sub-specialty of orthopaedics, and see more than 170,000 patients each year. To request an appointment, click here.
When it comes to your skeleton, it’s all downhill after 30.
That’s the age when growth hormone dwindles, bone-building slows to a crawl, and your body is likely to reach its maximal bone mass, explains bone expert (and bone “sleuth”) Dr. Susan Bukata.
“After that, bones begin to deteriorate,” she says. “Luckily, there are a few things you can do to slow down the clock.”
Bukata suggests the following tips for keeping the bone you’ve got:
- Spend 2 percent of your day exercising. You can spread this goal — 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise — throughout your day in small bursts. For instance, picking a spot further out in the grocery store parking lot can bring you a few minutes closer towards that half-hour goal.
- Find secret sources of calcium and Vitamin D. Hate milk? A half-cup of collard greens has the same calcium punch as an 8-ounce glass. Plenty of other creative sources of calcium (broccoli, salmon, bread) and Vitamin D are linked here and here.
- Kick the habit (no ifs, ands, or “butts”). Quitting smoking — or better yet, not starting in the first place — can dramatically cut your risk for fractures. While osteoporosis is undoubtedly a bad disease, Bukata says that avoiding a debilitating fracture is really the “name of the game.”
Bukata is the Clinical Director of URMC’s Center for Bone Health. A regional referral center for the diagnosis and treatment of bone disorders like osteoporosis, calcium bone disorders, and metabolic bone disease, the Center also works to advance patient care through research.