"In preliminary studies, particularly in bone fractures, we've see an effect in as little as a week," said Yokota, "and the effect is even stronger in two weeks. We're not ready to cite numbers, but I can say it appears significant."
The process by which salubrinal heals fractures may also apply to type 2 diabetes, the disease for which salubrinal was originally conceived.
"Salubrinal stimulates a cellular 'rescue program' in response to stress," said Yokota, noting some diabetes may be caused by the pancreas killing insulin-producing eyelet cells in response to increased insulin needs -- a process similar to the cellular shutdown that can occur in bones overtaxed by collagen production.
"With this drug," Yokota said, "the cells just enjoy the body's rescue response without really experiencing any new negative pressure. Using salubrinal is basically about trying to treat cells a little better."
The Department of Defense grant will support continued research into the effectiveness of salubrinal on broken and weakened bones and contribute to determining dosing guidelines, said Yokota, with an eye toward moving the drug into early clinical trials for patients with osteoporosis or bone fractures.
"In a sense, step one is done," he said. "This support will move us towards step two."
Developing a pill from the compound's current, injectable form -- making it easier to administer as well as increase its potential marketability -- is also a priority.
Altogether, Yokota sets an ambitious agenda.
"Our ultimate goal is FDA approval to provide a safe, efficacious, easy-to-use drug therapy that will heal hip fractures in the geriatric population," he said.
Additional support for Yokota's other projects related to bone strength and growth comes from the National Institutes of Health a
|Contact: Kevin Fryling|