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Hebrew University research holds promise for development of new osteoporosis drug
Date:10/4/2010

Jerusalem, October 4, 2010 Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered a group of substances in the body that play a key role in controlling bone density, and on this basis they have begun development of a drug for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and other bone disorders.

The findings of the Hebrew University researchers have just been published in the American journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

The research group working on the project is headed by Prof. Itai Bab of the Bone Laboratory and Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Institute of Drug Research at the Hebrew University, and includes post-doctoral fellow Reem Smoum and doctoral students Gary Millman, Orr Ofek, Alon Bajayo, Joseph Tam, Vardit Kram and associates from the United States.

Osteoporosis is the most widespread degenerative disease in the Western world and is expressed in the loss of bone mass and the weakening of bone structure, contributing to frequent bone fractures, disability and even death. The loss of bone mass in osteoporosis is caused by internal destruction of the bone tissue. With age, the quantity of bone tissue that is lost is greater than that which is created, which leads to the decrease in bone density.

In their current research, the researchers found that the bone cells produce a series of substances composed of fatty acids and amino acids called "acyl amides." They then analyzed their precise chemical composition, created synthetic versions of them, and examined their effect on bone cell cultures.

In experiments on mice, they discovered that one of the compounds in the group of synthetic materials, oleoyl serine, increased bone density in both healthy and osteoporotic mice. They also found that the osteoporotic mice were actually missing the oleoyl serine in their bones. These findings, say the researchers, can serve as the basis for new drugs that can both prevent bone lo
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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert  

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