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General Health Channel
Reported January 28, 2008

Building Stronger Bones with Stem Cells

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – A new therapy may help restore bone loss in patients with osteoporosis and some types of cancer.

Cells from bone marrow called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can create various types of cells – including muscle, bone, and fat – through a process known as differentiation. It has been proposed that drugs targeting the differentiation of these cells in a living organism might lead to a new strategy for regenerative medicine. But finding drugs that can specifically target MSCs as well as regulate their differentiation has been challenging for scientists.

New research from Massachusetts General Hospital shows the anti-tumor drug bortezomib (Bzb) targets MSCs and leads to bone cell–specific differentiation. MSCs in people and mice treated with Bzb effectively differentiated into osteoblasts, the type of cell responsible for bone formation.

Results show treatment with Bzb increased bone formation in normal mice and recovered bone loss in mice with an induced form of osteoporosis.

The authors conclude Bzb might be a new way to treat bone loss in patients with some types of cancer such as myeloma and those with osteoporosis as well.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: /newsalert/.

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SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2007;118:491-504

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