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URMC / Research / Research@URMC / December 2013 / Scientists Test Malaria Drug for Bone Diseases

Scientists Test Malaria Drug for Bone Diseases

female skeletonPreclinical data suggest that a drug used to treat and prevent malaria and given previously as an anti-inflammatory could be repurposed to treat post-menopausal osteoporosis, according to a paper this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Brendan F. Boyce, M.D., vice chair Anatomic Pathology at the URMC.

A bone biologist, Boyce studies the delicate balance between bone formation (carried out by osteoblasts) and bone loss (carried out by osteoclasts). When disruption of the balance tips toward too many osteoclasts, a higher rate of bone destruction occurs leading to fractures associated with osteoporosis and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

He discovered an important step in the formation of osteoclasts and, more importantly, found ways to inhibit bone destruction by using chloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that was FDA-approved decades ago. Boyce believes his paper is the first to describe the mechanism by which chloroquine inhibits osteoclast formation and prevents bone loss in an animal model of osteoporosis.

Next, his lab is studying a way to more safely deliver chloroquine to the bone to minimize side effects, which include the possibility of blurred vision and blindness.

To read the full study, click here.


Leslie Orr | 12/10/2013 | 2 comments


Stephen in AL
This just seems like it was a bold move that could produce some very positive outcomes later on down the road. I think we might be hearing a good bit more about Boyce in the near future too.
1/12/2014 10:50:38 PM
Medical Tourism Company
This is good news. This study takes us to another significant step forward in treating bone diseases. I hope that there will be further research to accomplish and to fully understand the mechanism by which this drug can effectively cure osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. By providing an understanding these basic functions, researchers may now have the necessary tools to develop improved treatments for the different kind of bone diseases.
12/19/2013 1:18:31 AM