Osteoporosis drugs may prevent future bone growth

A system that can recognize human gestures could provide a new way for people with physical disabilities to interact with computers. A related system for the able bodied could also be used to make virtual worlds more realistic. The system is described in detail in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Arts and

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Patients who start and eventually stop regimens of a common class of osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates may be unable to benefit from parathyroid hormone (PTH), which can rebuild bone mass lost due to advanced stage osteoporosis. PTH has been proven to increase the volume and strength of the honeycomb-like bone infrastructure, the inner mesh that begins to diminish in old age.

Bisphosphonates, the active ingredient in widely prescribed osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva are currently taken by more than thirty million Americans.

“These medicines work by preventing further bone loss,” explains Dr. Warren Levy, president and CEO of Unigene Laboratories, Inc. “However, recent reports suggest that some patients using bisphosphonates may be unable to repair or replace older or damaged bone. Furthermore, it has been reported that the prior use of certain bisphosphonates may blunt the effects of PTH, which could render the only currently available bone growth drug ineffective. Since bisphosphonates typically deposit in the bones for years, the use of a bisphosphonate could compromise the ability to grow new bone later in life when it is most needed.”

Estrogen alternatives have grown in recent years, including calcitonin, a naturally occurring hormone involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism. In third-party clinical trials, calcitonin demonstrated a 62% reduction in the incidence of new vertebral fractures for a subgroup of women over seventy-five years of age, one of the most significant reductions demonstrated by any current osteoporosis therapy.

“Calcitonin has a proven, thirty-five-year record of safe human use with virtually no significant side effects and can be taken simultaneously with other medications,” said Dr. Levy. “Since it is rapidly cleared by the body, it does not build up in the bone and may allow the patient to effectively employ PTH therapy in subsequent years if necessary.”

Although, PTH injections have been shown to reduce the incidence of fractures by restoring bone, the treatment can be very costly and requires daily injections. Unigene and GlaxoSmithKline are jointly developing a low-cost, orally administered PTH treatment, and Unigene is currently performing a Phase I clinical study in the U.S. Twenty-four healthy postmenopausal women are enrolled in the study, which is designed to assess product safety and measure PTH blood levels.

The tablets being tested utilize the improved Enteripep? oral delivery technology. “One pill a day to treat bone fractures would be ideal for patients who need to take this medicine for life,” adds Dr. Levy.



Cuts to Medicare reimbursement of DXA undermine efforts to properly diagnose and treat osteoporosis and diminish quality of patient care. According to a paper published in the November issue of the Springer journal Osteoporosis International, Medicare reimbursement for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has been cut to levels substantially below the cost to perform the procedure.

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Men who survived childhood leukemia treatment into adulthood were more likely to have low bone mineral density than other adults their age, putting them at risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, according to a new study. The study, led by James G. Gurney, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that 24

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Researchers at the University Of Southern California, School Of Dentistry release results of clinical data that links oral bisphosphonates to increased jaw necrosis. The study is among the first to acknowledge that even short-term use of common oral osteoporosis drugs may leave the jaw vulnerable to devastating necrosis, according to the report appearing in the

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Children and teenagers with even mild cases of anorexia exhibit abnormal bone structure, according to a new study appearing in the December issue of Radiology and presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). “Adolescence is the most critical period for growth of bone mass, and the onset of anorexia

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Researchers at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Canada, have discovered that adiponectin, a protein secreted from adipocytes, is a metabolic link that can explain, in part, the known positive relationship between obesity and both bone mineral density and reduced susceptibility to fractures. This study appears in the December issue of Experimental Biology

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