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Cedars-Sinai awarded $1.9 million from CIRM to develop stem cell treatments for osteoporosis
Date:10/22/2010

LOS ANGELES Oct. 21, 2010 A team of physicians and scientists from the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute and Department of Surgery, led by Dan Gazit, DMD, PhD has been awarded a three-year $1.9 million grant from the California stem cell agency to fund research leading to clinical trials for what could become the first biological treatment for the most common type of bone fracture in osteoporosis patients.

The grant was announced Thursday by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine as one of 19 Early Translation II Awards aimed at developing a new stem cell therapy for an unmet medical need or clearing up a bottleneck in the development of new therapies.

"Vertebral fractures are a common, painful problem for adults with osteoporosis and it can cause severe back pain and disabilities," said Gazit. "Currently, there are not many effective options for treatment so our goal is to develop a biological treatment that not only promotes healing but also stimulates normal bone production."

Vertebral compression fractures account for approximately 700,000 injuries in the United States each year twice as many as hip fractures. They often are a result of a severe jolt to the spine, or a weakening of the spine due to osteoporosis. Approximately 10 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition that primarily affects older women and is characterized by decrease in bone mass that causes bone brittleness. Another 34 million Americans have low bone mass, which also increases vulnerability to vertebral compression fractures.

Medical therapy and research have focused mainly on prevention, but when compression fractures occur, the only medical interventions available involve injection of synthetic, non-biological material that does not absorb into tissues and remains a permanent foreign body fixture in the spine.

The grant will be used to conduct studies in which animals with osteopo
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Contact: Sally Stewart
Sally.stewart@cshs.org
310-248-6566
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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