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.
While modern medicine boasts more and more implantable devices – items like urinary catheters, heart valves, even artificial hips – it’s important to note that these novel products carry some unique risks.
One in particular has to do with infection. It turns out that everyday bacteria have a nasty habit of building even hardier colonies atop foreign, implanted surfaces than they would on regular body surfaces (which are fed by rich blood supplies).
The result? Foreign-body-based bacterial fortresses are often trickier for standard antibiotics to penetrate and kill. As a result, these infections have wicked way of coming back, and in a worst case scenario, the only sure way to eradicate them is to remove the foreign body altogether. Such surgeries can be daunting for already-weak patients.
According to new research out of Boston University (still preliminary, of course), scientists suggest that pairing sugars with certain antibiotics might one day supercharge them, helping the medicine penetrate resilient colonies and kill bad bacteria for good.
To hear URMC infectious disease specialist Dr. John Treanor comment on the findings, watch the clip below.
John Treanor, M.D., professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, serves as the chief of the Infectious Diseases Division of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is a widely recognized expert in influenza and vaccine research.