BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A drug originally used to treat iron poisoning can significantly boost the bodys own ability to heal and re-grow injured bones, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
The researchers injected the drug deferoxamine (DF), which is designed to reduce iron overload, into injured mouse bones. They found DF triggered the growth of new blood vessels, which in turn kicked off bone re-growth and healing.
In the study, bone density surrounding the injury more than doubled to 2.6 cubic millimeters in treated bones compared to 1.2 cubic millimeters in untreated bones, the researchers said. The new blood vessel growth and bone healing was achieved through a cell pathway that helps the body respond to low oxygen levels, a common problem when blood supply is affected by bone fracture and disease.
Findings on this cell pathway have broad implications for improving treatment of bone fractures, bone disease and other musculoskeletal disorders, said Shawn Gilbert, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in the UAB School of
Medicine, and Chao Wan, M.D. Ph.D., an instructor in the UAB Department of Pathology, both co-authors on the study.
With DF activating this pathway, weve proven a significant point it is possible to explore new, safe and more affordable ways kick-start bone repair, Gilbert said.
Current treatments use complex proteins, which are expensive to make and cost thousands of dollars per dose. The type of agent used in this study is a simple, small molecule drug that costs hundreds, not thousands, Gilbert said.
The UAB findings are published in the online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will soon appear in a print edition.
The results from this study are a milestone for future studies looking at other compounds and agents to improve new-blood-vessel growth in skeletal and other tiss
|Contact: Troy Goodman|
University of Alabama at Birmingham