ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Almost 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million are at risk of getting it. It’s a disease that causes weak and fragile bones. And although there are medications to slow its progression, there’s nothing that can stop it, until now. New nanotechnology may be the key to preventing, treating, and destroying osteoporosis. Nanobubbles
Patricia Bersche says, “I was walking from the living room to my bedroom and i fell.”
At 81, falling and breaking a bone terrifies Bersche.
Berscje says, “I fell so many times that it was frightening for me.”
One in two women, and one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Mehdi Razavi is using nanobubbles to destroy the genes that cause osteoporosis.
Razavi explains, “There are side effects including jaw osteonecrosis and gastrointestinal issues.”
A healthy body will continuously replace old or damaged bone tissue. But in osteoporosis, the bone damage increases faster than new bone can be formed. Many drugs used today can slow down the process, but the side effects can be debilitating.
“We develop nanobubbles that you can inject them inside your body. They are very small.” Explains Razavi.
So small that they are invisible to the human eye.
The nanobubbles Razavi is creating go into bone cells, then search and find the genes that cause osteoporosis and deliver treatment. An ultrasound is then used to super charge the treatment, causing the infected gene to disappear.
Razavi says, “When you apply ultrasound into the bubbles, they start to expand and then rupture to deliver genes into the cell. Ultrasound alone can also increase bone formation.”
Razavi says these nanobubbles will not only stop osteoporosis from getting worse, but it can also reverse the damage done and prevent it from happening altogether.
Experts predict that by 2025, just two years away, that osteoporosis will be responsible for three million fractures and 25 billion dollars in medical costs annually.
This new treatment is not just for osteoporosis, but scientists hope to treat Alzheimer’s as well. Right now, nanobubbles are being used to treat cancer patients.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
NANOBUBBLES: DESTROYING THE GENES THAT CAUSE OSTEOPOROSIS
BACKGROUND: About 54 million Americans have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. When heathy bone is viewed under a microscope, it looks like a honeycomb. With osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone, and those bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS: The body needs the minerals calcium and phosphate to make and keep healthy bones. During the course of someone’s life, the body continues to both reabsorb old bone and create new bone. As long as the body has a good balance of new and old bone, the bones stay healthy and strong. Bone loss occurs when more old bone is reabsorbed than new bone is created. Sometimes, bone loss occurs without any known cause. Other times, bone loss and thin bones run in families. There are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Many times, people will have a fracture before learning they have osteoporosis. Compression fractures are fractures of the bones of the spine that can cause pain almost anywhere in the spine and often occur without an injury. The pain occurs suddenly or slowly over time. There can be a loss of height (as much as 6 inches) over time, and a stooped posture or a condition called a dowager’s hump may develop.
PROMISING TARGET FOR OSTEOPOROSIS: Researchers have found a possible new target for treating conditions that weaken bones by identifying a mechanism behind bone strengthening in response to stress. The study shows that channels on the surface of bone cells called osteocytes can help build stronger bones in response to mechanical stress. This may help scientists develop new therapeutics to conditions that contribute to bone loss, such as osteoporosis. The researchers found that mechanical stimulation, such as physical exercise, is key in bone formation and therefore stimulate new bone growth. According to the scientists, the research suggests that targeting Cx43 hemichannels on osteocytes might be an alternative treatment that uses the body’s own response to stress. “Further studies are needed to verify these findings and explore the potential of drugs that target these channels. If they are one day proven to be safe and effective, such treatments could be particularly helpful for older patients who are less responsive to the bone-strengthening effects of movement,” said senior author Professor Jean Jiang, Zachry Distinguished University Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, UT Health Science Centre at San Antonio.
* For More Information, Contact:
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk