A recent study has unveiled a new osteoporosis drug under development. However, the direction the researchers are taking closely resembles an existing osteoporosis drug: Evenity (romosozumab).
The researchers promote their methodology as a revolutionary approach to drug development, even though the synthetic molecule they've created closely resembles an existing osteoporosis drug.
We’ll look at this new drug in development and how it compares to other medications and their side effects.
Bio-Inspired Molecules Built To Target Bone
Researchers from several biotechnology and medical institutions have collaborated to develop new “bio-inspired” molecules that enhance bone regeneration in mice.
Published in the journal Biomaterials, their study highlights their use of computer modeling and testing to more effectively bio-engineer molecules inspired by biology. They designed the synthetic compounds to interact with natural pathways associated with bone remodeling.1
The molecules, termed Rationally Engineered oligomeric glycosaminoglycan derivatives (reGAG), are designed to block the signaling pathways of two naturally occurring proteins: Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) and sclerostin. Both of these proteins inhibit the development of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for generating new bone.1
The researchers believe that these new molecules could be used to develop new drugs that aid the body in regenerating bone more efficiently. Their eyes are clearly set on the market for osteoporosis drugs. However, despite their unique development method, they haven't discovered a novel pathway for artificially accelerated bone growth.
Biotech and medical researchers have joined forces to design a new synthetic molecule that inhibits two proteins: DKK1 and sclerostin. These proteins inhibit the formation of the cells that build new bone, osteoblasts. While the process for creating these molecules is new, this mechanism of action has already been attempted by other drugs.
The new molecule, reGAG, targets the protein sclerostin that already has a contentious history in the medical industry. Sclerostin is targeted by a well-known osteoporosis drug: Evenity, also known as romosozumab.
Evenity is an injectable osteoporosis drug that inhibits sclerostin. This action results in more osteoblast formation, which leads to increased production of new bone. However, the drug stops working over time, and patients have to then switch to a bisphosphonate to try to maintain the increase in bone mineral density.
This temporary increase in bone mineral density doesn't come at a cost. Romosozumab was originally denied by the FDA because of risk of a heart attack. It was too dangerous to prescribe.
However, the following year, Amgen, the pharmaceutical giant behind Evenity, resubmitted the identical drug. The FDA approved it exclusively for women considered to be at the highest risk of fracture. Of course, the drug still carries significant risks.
Additional studies have confirmed the heart health risks of romosozumab, and have linked it directly to the inhibition of sclerostin.2 That's the same mechanism of action claimed by the new study, along with the inhibition of another protein called Dickkopf-1 (DKK1).
The new molecule reGAG inhibits sclerostin to increase bone formation. That's the same mechanism of action as romosozumab (Eventiy) an osteoporosis drug that increases the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular conditions.
DKK1: More Of The Same
The other protein inhibited by this newly crafted bio-inspired molecule is Dickkopf-1 (DKK1).
Studies have revealed that this protein is critical to embryonic heart, head, and forelimb development. It’s also central to adult bone development and bone health.3
Like sclerostin, DKK1 is known to inhibit bone repair by suppressing osteoblast formation. That’s why researchers are targeting it alongside sclerostin. However, it remains to be seen what unintended consequences will follow from inhibiting this naturally occurring protein.
If the “bio-inspired” compounds inhibiting DKK1 and sclerostin are developed into a drug, the inclusion of DKK1 inhibition could introduce new side effects to an already risky osteoporosis treatment.
DKKI is a protein essential for embryonic development. Later it helps regulate bone formation by inhibiting osteoblast formation, just like sclerostin. However, unlike sclerostin, we don't yet know the potential side effects of a drug that artificially disables this naturally occurring protein.
What This Means To You
Although Big Pharma continually pursues new drugs, the results often show limited effectiveness and harmful side effects. This further points to the importance of an integrative and natural approach to bone health.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program offers a holistic, drug-free program of positive changes that will result in stronger bones and improved health. It requires more effort than a pill and more time than an injection, but the results are more than worth it.
Embrace a life filled with freedom, confidence, and independence by staying committed to your all-natural bone health regimen!