Drug Heals Broken Bones
A drug approved for the treatment of osteoporosis is healing broken bones with stem cells.
Since 2002, teriparatide (Forteo) has been used to treat osteoporosis, but scientists have discovered a new use for the drug in helping bones repair fractures -- particularly in bones that are otherwise difficult to heal. These findings could be especially beneficial for the elderly, those who suffer fractures of the pelvis, clavicle or vertebra, which have no viable treatments, and sick patients who cannot undergo surgery to treat a fracture.
By stimulating stem cell growth at the point of fracture, teriparatide speeds bone healing to rates typically seen among young children. It also minimizes much of the pain associated with fractures during the healing process.
"Imagine if we can give patients a way to cut the time of their pain and immobility in half? That's what teriparatide did in our initial research," Susan V. Bukata, M.D., medical director of the Center for Bone Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center in N.Y., was quoted as saying.
Not only did the drug minimize pain associated with bone fractures and speed healing, but it allowed patients who would otherwise be confined to a nursing home or long-term medical care because of non-healing fractures to live independently.
SOURCE: Presented in February at the Orthopaedic Research Society’s meeting