Recent Genetic Findings Could Help Treat Osteoporosis Patients

With recent genetic work on osteoporosis, Montreal researchers believe they can pave the way for better drugs and treatments for this very common disease: about one third of women in Canada will experience a fracture during this lifetime due to this pathological rarefaction. bone tissue.

Osteoporosis has few treatment options for the time being, with some drugs being overpriced, and others having side effects that are not appreciated by patients, said Dr. Brent Richards in an interview. Principal investigator of the study, who led a team of international researchers and researchers from Montreal working at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital.

This is the importance of these research results, which have just been published in the journal Nature Genetics : find treatments and drugs and also determine who will be affected by this disease, which is characterized by the gradual decline bone strength, and therefore a high risk of fracture, he explained.

Increase in the number of cases

The impact is particularly important when considering the number of seniors who have hip fractures, often leading to hospitalization and subsequent loss of independence. Osteoporosis affects women more than men, but is also one of the most common age-related chronic diseases in men.

And the number of fractures related to osteoporosis is expected to increase, as the cost of health care to treat, as the population ages, warns Dr. Richards, professor of medicine and human genetics at McGill University .

The latter, who is also a geneticist at the Clinical Epidemiology Center of the Lady Davis Institute and who treats patients with osteoporosis in his practice, has worked with the lead author of this study, Dr. John Morris, as well. Institute and McGill University.

The team worked very hard for three years to concoct a species of “atlas” of genetic influences on osteoporosis, which they identified.

They used the UK biobank, “the world’s largest research cohort,” which analyzed the genome of 426,000 people.

The number of fractures related to osteoporosis is expected to increase, as will the cost of health care to treat them. Photo: getty images / istockphoto / kckate16
They then identified a smaller set of genes that could be targeted by those who develop drugs. From 20,000 genes, they have grown to a few hundred, including 301 newly identified, which predispose to reduced bone mineral density, one of the most relevant factors for diagnosing osteoporosis.

“A massive reduction,” says Dr. Richards.

Research targets for new drugs are significantly reduced.

“We can prescribe injectable drugs that rebuild the bone, but they are priceless. We have drugs that prevent bone loss, but they must be taken on a strict schedule. Thus, the number of people who need to be treated but who are not, is high. Therefore, we believe that we will be more successful in ensuring that patients follow a treatment regimen if it can be simplified, “says Dr. Richards.

But “it’s always better to prevent than treat,” says Dr. Richards.

He therefore welcomed the fact that recent research should also help prevent the spread of the disease.

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