An Osteoporosis Odyssey | UCB
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An Osteoporosis Odyssey

Posted by
Antje Witte, Investor Relations
They’re part of a truly out-of-this-world research project which could help change the lives of people at risk of bone mass loss – including osteoporotic fractures.

As NASA prepares for its final space shuttle mission, our researchers are getting pretty excited. UCB and Amgen have teamed up with NASA to test a sclerostin antibody on board the space shuttle Atlantis.

The loss of bone mass during space flight remains a significant problem for human space missions, especially for long-term flights.

Think about it: doctors tell people at risk of osteoporosis to take “weight-bearing exercise”, but that’s not so easy when you’re in a zero gravity environment!

This is bad news for astronauts but offers a unique opportunity to study bone loss. The sclerostin antibody that UCB and Amgen are working on is designed to inhibit a protein which suppresses bone formation.

Just like astronauts who spend a long time in space – people affected by osteoporosis for example suffer lower bone density, making their bones brittle and increasing their risk of fracture. 

By taking this research project to space and testing the sclerostin antibody on mice, we hope to learn a great deal about treating the skeletal fragility that typically results from skeletal disuse – the loss of bone strength that can accompany immobilisation, stroke, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and reduced physical activity.

AMG 785/CDP7851, a different sclerostin antibody than the one being used for this STS-135 mouse study, is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for bone-related conditions, including postmenopausal osteoporosis and fracture healing, as a collaboration between Amgen Inc. and UCB.

For more information about the STS-135 mission, visit:

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