New Study Marks Potential Osteoporosis Treatment Target

October 20, 2017 in STSMPT


Osteoporosis is a disorder that causes the bones to become weaker. This leads people to have a greater risk of fractures and other injuries. 54 million Americans either have it or are at risk for developing it. One in two women and one in four men will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis. Because of this, osteoporosis is an area that receives much research. A recent study has identified new genetic marks that may lead to potential treatment options.

The study, conducted by The University of Queensland and McGill University, published the results of their findings in Nature Genetics. The study involved more than 140,000 individuals from the UK who had bone mineral density assessments taken from their heels. Then they went to see if there were any links between this information and their genetic profiles. They found 153 new gene variants associated with the loss of bone density.

One gene, GPC6, shows some promise for future treatment options. This gene encodes a protein that is present on cell surfaces, making it easier for drug targeting. They studied this gene in animal models and found that removing this gene increased bone thickness.

The new findings could lead to developing new screening programs which assess who needs to take preventative care. Another study into the genetics behind osteoporosis is underway that is using an even bigger sample size. The study is likely to reveal even more information.

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