Can Stem Cell Research Provide Insight into Osteoporosis?

One company plans to find out with the aid of a $1.7 million award.

, an international pharmaceutical company, will receive a $1.7 million award to be applied towards the study of embryonic-like stem cells and the treatment of osteoporosis.

The award was recommended for funding by the Department of Defense (DOD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

The award will help fund the company's proposal to continue a strategy aimed at employing itss VSEL Technology which uses a unique stem cell population, very small embryonic-like stem cells, to treat osteoporosis and improve bone health. NeoStem has shown that very small embryonic-like stem cells can be mobilized into the peripheral blood, enabling a minimally invasive means for collecting what the company believes to be an important population of stem cells that may have the potential to achieve the positive benefits associated with embryonic stem cells without the ethical or moral dilemmas or the potential negative effects associated with embryonic stem cells.

"The work proposed in this application has the potential to dramatically change the way in which osteoporosis and bone fracture is treated in the military and in the general population," Dr. Russell Taichman, professor of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan's School of Dentistry, said, in a press release. Taichman, who will take part in the study, said, "Osteoporosis is a major medical condition affecting 75 million people worldwide and causing significant morbidity and mortality in the aging population and the increased incidence of fractures is the major cause of death from osteoporosis. In 2005, the estimated cost burden of fractures due to osteoporosis was $19 billion and that is expected to rise to over $25 billion by the year 2025. In addition to being a major concern for the general healthcare community, osteoporosis and related bone fractures have become a concern for the military with significant loss of duty time across all branches of the military due to related stress fractures."

Dr. Denis Rodgerson, NeoStem's director of Stem Cell Science and Principal Investigator for the study said, "We are honored to have been recommended for this award. It will enable us, together with Dr. Taichman as co-Principal Investigator and his colleague Dr. Laurie K. McCauley, Chair, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan's School of Dentistry and Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, to explore the significant potential for VSEL™ Technology to provide benefits in autologous, cell-based therapies for osteoporosis and other diseases of the bone."

Dr. Robin Smith, NeoStem's CEO commented, "We are thrilled that such a preeminent authority as the Department of Defense shares our excitement and vision regarding the clinical applications of our licensed technologies and continues to support the advancement of our VSEL™ Technology in multiple clinical applications."

Source: NeoStem

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