Can targeting damage related proteins released at the time of injury enhance fracture healing in osteoporotic bone?

Disease - Osteoporosis, traumatic fracture

Lead applicant - Professor Jagdeep Nanchahal

Organisation - University of Oxford

Type of grant - Project Grant

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £284,472.21

Start date - 1 September 2016

Reference - 21290

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Osteoporosis is a condition which weakens bones making them very fragile. People living with the condition experience a high number of bone breaks and fractures. There is currently no treatment offered to speed up repair of these injuries. It is known that proteins are released at the time of fracture called alarmins. The research will look at these damage-related proteins and aim to discover the part they play in fracture healing and whether they could be used in the development of new treatments.

Why is this research important?

In osteoporosis, rates of recovery and mobilisation following fracture are limited by the time required for the injury to heal. This research is important as it could lead to a therapeutic treatment that is given at the site of injury which would minimise potential side effects in a vulnerable group of patients while speeding up the healing process of osteoporotic fractures allowing earlier load-bearing and increased mobility.

The preliminary data show that the alarmins released following tissue damage are crucial in conducting fracture healing. The team will use both human samples and mouse models to try to understand the role of alarmins in fracture healing and whether controlled increase of the alarmins pathway promotes healing.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Fractures of osteoporotic bones are a major and increasing clinical problem with our aging population. This research could allow the development of a therapeutic treatment to accelerate healing of fragility fractures. Increased mobility and independence would greatly benefit the 9 million patients across the world that suffer from fragility fractures every year. Shortened hospital stays as well as reduced morbidity and mortality rates will also significantly reduce direct, as well as indirect, healthcare costs and social care burden.