A novel approach to improving skeletal fragility in type II diabetes mellitus

It is common knowledge that the worldwide prevalence of type II diabetes is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Increased bone fragility and high fracture risk are under-recognised complications of long-term hyperglycemia in type II diabetes. As a result, patients have an increased risk of falls, fractures, reduced quality of life and increased mortality rates. Neither anti-diabetic medications, that aim to lower blood glucose, nor anti-osteoporotic medications, that aim to increase bone turnover, work to improve the risks and rates of bone fractures in these patients. Dr Tara Brennan-Speranza from the University of Sydney and Dr Nicolas Bonnet from UNIGE have devised a project that aims to test the innovative approach of combining anti-diabetic medications already on the market for the maintenance of blood glucose levels, with novel molecules that act on the calcium-sensing receptor at the bone forming osteoblasts to increase bone formation and stimulate new bone turnover. This project directly creates new target options for treating these patients and improving the fracture risk and quality of life. The proposal is based on clear preliminary data on the effects of diabetes in mice and the activation of the calcium-sensing receptor in the bone forming cells. This project requires the extended visitation of Dr Bonnet to the Brennan-Speranza laboratory at the University of Sydney, during which time, the two investigators will also run an inaugural, and much-needed, up-to-date bone histomorphometry workshop for Australian musculoskeletal scientists. Funding for this travel and the running of the workshop is currently lacking.

UNIGE: Dr. Nicolas Bonnet, Department of Internal Medicine Specialties/Faculty of Medicine (UNIGE)/University Geneva Hospital (HUG)
USyd: Dr. Tara Brennan-Speranza, Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences