NYU College of Dentistry professor awarded $3.23 million osteoporosis research grant

Nov. 6, 2008
Objective of five-year study is to develop compounds that will be safe, affordable and effective for the prevention and reversal of bone loss caused by osteoporosis.

New York University College of Dentistry's Dr. Racquel Z. LeGeros, a professor of biomaterials and biomimetics and the Linkow professor of implant dentistry, has received a five-year, $3.23 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will help Dr. LeGeros continue her study of compounds that will be safe, affordable, and effective for the prevention and reversal of bone loss caused by osteoporosis.

"Results from the proposed studies could lead to the development of safe and affordable therapy that will target both prevention and reversal of bone loss due to osteoporosis and other bone-deficient diseases," said Dr LeGeros. "These results will greatly impact public health and alleviate the tremendous socioeconomic burden associated with osteoporosis."

In her previous work, "Effect of Mg/Zn/F-CaP Supplements on Bone Properties: Phase 1," (October 2007), Dr. LeGeros describes the initial results of her research.

This research showed that calcium phosphate-based formulations administered as a dietary supplement or by injection--even at low concentrations--significantly improved bone strength and thickness, and prevented bone loss induced by mineral deficiency without the side effects of many current drug treatments.

Current FDA-approved pharmaceutical-based osteoporosis treatments, such as bisphosphonate drugs and hormone therapies, do not effectively repair bone that has already been lost. In fact, bisphosphonates have been shown to actually inhibit bone redevelopment.

Many of these treatments also have serious side effects, including increasing the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw, delayed fracture healing, heart disease, strokes, and breast cancer.

Osteoporosis, a silent debilitating bone disease, results when the rate of bone resorption (by osteoclasts) is much greater than the rate of bone formation (by osteoblasts). This causes bone loss and deterioration of bone quality, leading to decreased bone strength, bone fragility, and susceptibility to bone fracture.

In the United States, the disease affects an estimated 10 million older adults, resulting in more than 1.5 million fractures annually. The overwhelming majority of those afflicted with osteoporosis (80%) are women.

Dr. LeGeros's coinvestigators are Dr. Mani Alikhani, assistant professor of orthodontics; Dr. Yu Zhang, assistant professor of biomaterials & biomimetics; Dr. Timothy Bromage, adjunct professor of biomaterials & biomimetics and of basic science & craniofacial biology; Dr. John LeGeros, adjunct professor of biomaterials & biomimetics; and Dr. Dindo Mijares, assistant research scientist in biomaterials & biomimetics.

To reach Dr. LeGeros, contact Christopher James at (212) 998-6876 or via e-mail at Christopher James.

For more information, visit New York University College of Dentistry.

To read more about osteoporosis, go to osteoporosis.

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