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New compound may accelerate bone healing, prevent osteoporosis
Date:8/17/2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana University scientist studying human bone growth has received a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study a chemical compound with potential to fight osteoporosis and accelerate broken bone healing.

Hiroki Yokota, professor of biomedical engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and adjunct professor of anatomy and cell biology at the IU School of Medicine, will investigate the effect of salubrinal -- a chemical compound originally developed to encourage insulin production in individuals with diabetes -- on human bone strength and growth. Early laboratory research supported by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) suggests weakened bones treated with salubrinal experience a statistically significant increase in strength, as well as accelerated healing in bones that have been fractured.

"People are getting older," Yokota said, "and when people get older, particularly women, they tend to develop osteoporotic bones. As a mechanical engineer, I was originally exploring mechanical stimulation, which is similar to exercise, to strengthen bones. But by studying these mechanisms, I came across a molecular pathway that became the beginning of this discovery."

Acute pelvic and hip fractures account for about 350,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States, with 76 percent of patients being female and annual cases expected to reach 650,000 by 2050. Moreover, Yokota said approximately 25 percent of fracture patients previously living independently require full-time nursing care post-fracture, with only a quarter returning to pre-injury levels of activity and half never fully recovering.

Older populations are increasingly affected by weakened and broken bones as aging cells are no longer able to produce sufficient levels of collagen, the protein from which bones derive their strength. Salubrinal prevents this cellular decli
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Contact: Kevin Fryling
kfryling@iupui.edu
317-278-0088
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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