MONTREAL — With genetic recent on osteoporosis, researchers in montreal believe they can pave the way to better medicines and treatments for this disease safe common: approximately one third of women in Canada will experience in their lifetime a fracture related to this condition.
And osteoporosis has few treatment options for now, some drugs are out of your price range, and other side effects which are not appreciated by patients, ” said in an interview dr. Brent Richards, principal investigator of the study, which has led an international team including researchers from Montreal working in the Lady Davis Institute of the jewish general Hospital.
It is here that the importance of these research findings, published recently in the journal “Nature Genetics”: find treatments and medications, and also determine who will be affected by this disease, which is characterized by the gradual reduction of bone strength, and, therefore, a high risk of fracture, he explained.
The impact is particularly important if one considers the number of seniors who are victims of hip fractures, often leading to hospitalization and a loss of autonomy later on. Osteoporosis strikes more women than men, but it is also one of the chronic diseases related to age, more frequent in men.
And the number of fractures related to osteoporosis is expected to increase – as well as the cost of health care for the treat – while the population is aging, warns Dr. Richards, professor especially in medicine and human genetics at McGill University.
The latter, who is also a geneticist at the Centre for clinical epidemiology of the Lady Davis Institute and treats patients with osteoporosis in his practice, has worked with the principal author of this study, dr. John Morris, also of the Institute, and McGill University.
The team has worked hard for three years to concoct a kind of”atlas” of the genetic influences on osteoporosis, which they have identified.
They are served from the biobank of the United Kingdom, “the largest research cohort of the world”, which allowed them to analyze the genome of 426 000 people.
They have then identified a smaller set of genes that can be targeted by those who develop medicines. 20, 000 genes, they are passed to a few hundred – of which 301 newly identified – that predispose to reduced bone mineral density, one of the factors that are most relevant to a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
“A massive reduction”, says Dr Richards.
The targets of research for new medicines are significantly reduced.
“We can prescribe injectable drugs that help to rebuild the os, but they are out of the price. We have drugs that prevent bone loss, but they must be taken according to a strict schedule. Thus, the number of people that need to be addressed, but which are not, is high. Therefore, we believe that we will have more success to ensure that the patients follow a plan of treatment if it can be simplified.”
But “it is always better to prevent than to treat,” says dr. Richards.
It therefore welcomes the fact that recent research work should also help to prevent the development of the disease.