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Mutation connected to Osteoporosis

orosis treatment is aimed at replacing calcium in bones but there is no approved treatment aimed at growing new bones. Since the GSNA1 mutation is instructing cells to differentiate not into muscle, fat or skin but rather into bone it may provide a model to help researchers understand how they can manipulate cells in people with osteoporosis to grow bone.

Dr. Michael J. Econs, a bone researcher at the University of Indiana, Indianapolis, said Levine's team might be on the right track. "In a very general sense, the more we know about genes that are important in bone formation or born resorbtion or mineralization, the more likely we are to be able to design therapies for various metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis." Econs was not involved in the research. Dr. Craig Langman of Northwestern University Medical School and the kidney and mineral metabolism center at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, agreed the new research might pave the way for development of "designer drugs that really target this mutation."

But Langman cautioned it is premature to suggest this new finding will quickly lead to development of osteoporosis treatments. He predicted that it would have more value in finding ways to "treat this particular genetic disease." The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's General Clinical Research Center.


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