Baulkham Hills bone researcher helps uncover osteoporosis treatment

AFTER more than four years of investigation, a Baulkham Hills bone researcher can now say he has helped discover a new and promising treatment for osteoporosis.

Christopher Vidal said he and his seven co-researchers actually made the discovery two years ago but, due to a pending application on the patent, couldn't disclose anything.

"Now we are waiting for funding to continue working and to expand our trials to humans," Dr Vidal said.

"What we have been trying to do is work out how stem cells turn into bone and fat cells and how to reverse this process and prevent fractures in the aged."

Dr Vidal said the treatment was a compound called picolinic acid, derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan.

It is odourless, easily delivered in water-soluble form and it stimulates bone formation.

He and and lead researcher, Professor Gustavo Duque of Penrith, presented the finding at October's annual meeting of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research in Baltimore in the US.

Professor Duque said by 2050, despite the current treatments available, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men was projected to increase by 310 per cent and 240 cent in women.

"We are targeting the real problem by stimulating the bone-forming cells to work and produce more bone, thus increasing bone mass and hopefully preventing new fractures," he said.

Other researchers include Wei Lee, Sandra Bermeo and Krishanthi Gunaratnam from the Ageing Bone Research Program at Sydney Medical School Nepean Campus in Penrith.

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