In brief

May 2016   Comments

Stem cell therapy for age-related osteoporosis

Age-related (type 2) osteoporosis is responsible for an estimated 8.9 million fractures per year worldwide. Imagine if a patient with this condition could be told that a single injection of stem cells could restore his normal bone structure. With a publication in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine , researchers from the University of Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital suggest that this scenario may not be too far away.

The researchers injected osteoporotic mice with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from healthy mice. MSCs are able to become bone cells. Six months after injection, a quarter of the lifespan of the mice, the osteoporotic bone had given way to healthy, functional bone. MSCs are ideal for the development of human therapies because they can be transplanted from one person to another without the need for matching and won’t be rejected. The study could soon give rise to a new paradigm for treating or even indefinitely postponing the onset of osteoporosis. There is only one commercially available therapy at this time for type-2 osteoporosis, and this drug maintains its effectiveness for just two years.

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