Researchers have discovered a new drug for osteoporosis that could change the way doctors treat the bone disease.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition that leaves bones brittle and prone to breakage. Those over the age of 50 are particularly at risk.
While previous treatments have focused on the bones themselves, researchers now say they have discovered that by targeting the body’s so-called senescent cells, they can hinder the development on osteoporosis all together.
Senescent cells are involved in the normal process of ageing and in diseases related to ageing.
Medical News Today reports that researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN targeted the senescent cells by switching off the genes in the cells and then eradicated them by using senolytic drugs, which are meant to kill off senescent cells.
Finally, they used a drug to stop the pro-inflammatory substance secreted by senescent cells, which contributes to osteoporosis.
The method targets the ageing process directly rather than the bones directly, which researchers say is an exciting new development in the field.
Dr Sundeep Khosla, director of the Aging Bone and Muscle program at Mayo Clinic’s Robert and told Medical News Today he believes the findings could trigger a whole new way to treat the condition.
“The effects of all three approaches on aging bone were strikingly similar,” he said.
“They all enhanced bone mass and strength by reducing bone resorption but maintaining or increasing bone formation, which is fundamentally different from all current osteoporosis drugs.
“The novelty of this work for the bone field lies in the fact that, rather than targeting a bone-specific pathway, as is the case for all current treatments for osteoporosis, we targeted a fundamental aging process that has the potential to improve not only bone mass, but also alleviate other age-related conditions as a group.”
The study was conducted on lab-modified mice, meaning human trials are still required before any news drugs formed from the method are made public.