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The New England Journal of Medicine paper: New research offers promise for osteoporosis

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    You are probably sitting still while reading this – but your bones are a hive of activity. Bones undergo a constant process of renewal: some cells cause bone to break down while others form new bone.

    In most people, the rates at while old bone is removed and new bone is made are in balance. But in some people, bone formation cannot keep up with bone breakdown.

    Over time, this leads to lower bone mineral density which makes them weaker and at risk of fracture. This condition, known as osteoporosis, can affect men and women of any age but particularly affects women after menopause.

    In fact, about half of all women over 50 years of age will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime1 . These painful fractures typically occur in the spine, hip and wrist, and can have a major impact on quality of life.

    At UCB, we are working to find a solution. In collaboration with Amgen, we are exploring a way to redress the balance between bone breakdown and bone formation, thus protecting post-menopausal women from the discomfort and disability that can accompany a fracture.

    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – one of the most prestigious publications in medical science – showed significantly increased bone mineral density and stimulation of bone formation in post-menopausal women at risk of osteoporosis who used our investigational medicine.

    The compound is under development but the results show real potential to reduce the risk of fractures.

    While this research was conducted in a relatively small group of women (419), it has prompted us to move ahead to evaluate the compound with a much larger group.

    This story is far from over but the NEJM paper suggests it could be about to get very interesting.

    1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Fast Facts. http://old.nof.artsmithclients.com/node/40. Accessed January 20, 2014.

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