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Scientists discover way to jumpstart bone's healing process
Date:4/14/2009

older women with pelvic fractures will die from complications," Bukata said. "And during that year of recovery, a patient typically puts a greater strain on our health care system, not to mention their pain and suffering."

Translational Research at Work

The impetus for the research began in Bukata's clinic, where she saw painful bone fractures in osteoporotic patients quickly heal within a few months of taking teriparatide. At the time, Bukata also served on a research team at the University's Center for Musculoskeletal Research, and she began to advocate that the team direct its efforts in an entirely new direction based on the results she was seeing with patients who were taking teriparatide.

"I had patients with severe osteoporosis, in tremendous pain from multiple fractures throughout their spine and pelvis, who I would put on teriparatide," said Bukata. "When they would come back for their follow-up visits three months later, it was amazing to see not just the significant healing in their fractures, but to realize they were pain-free a new and welcome experience for many of these patients."

Puzas and Bukata developed a plan to focus attention in both the lab and clinic to understand if her observations were a fluke or if there was an underlying scientific process producing such life-changing results for patients.

"While we had come to understand how teriparatide builds bone more robustly than the body can on its own, up to that point, we had no clue how the drug would or could help with fracture healing," Puzas said.

Bukata began prescribing teriparatide to patients with non-healing fractures, and was amazed at her findings: 93 percent showed significant healing and pain control after being on teriparatide for only eight to 12 weeks. And in the lab, Puzas began to understand how teriparatide stimulates bone stem cells into action.

Closing the Gap

When a fracture occurs,
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Contact: Germaine Reinhardt
Germaine_Reinhardt@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-6517
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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