Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


McMaster researchers pave the way to new drugs for bone diseases


Osteocalcin, a small bone-specific protein that influences bone formation, may facilitate the development of drugs to combat bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis and bone metastases of cancer, say McMaster University researchers. Their study is to be published in the October 30 issue of Nature, a high-impact scientific journal.

Although it’s generally accepted that osteocalcin, discovered in 1976, binds to the mineral component of bone, called hydroxyapatite, the biological function and the 3-D structure of the protein have never been known. Now McMaster researchers have unlocked the mystery.

Osteocalcin is used as a biological marker for assessing bone disease and is closely linked to bone turnover, a fine balance between bone resorption and formation which goes on constantly during life.

“The 3-D structure of osteocalcin leads one to believe that the protein is the molecular marker or address of bone,” said biochemistry professor Daniel Yang.

It’s important to know the structure of the proteins because, if cells involved in bone metastasis and other bone diseases use the osteocalcin protein to identify where the bone is and where to attack, it may be possible to modify the structure through new drug therapies so that bone disease or metastasis does not set in.

“This is the result of seven years of hard work,” said Yang. “The crystal structure of osteocalcin provides, for the first time, an atomic model for the bone recognition mechanism of osteocalcin. It also allows us to speculate on the function of osteocalcin.”

Quyen Hoang, who worked on the research as a McMaster PhD student, said the study’s results provide essential tools to rationally design drugs that modulate the activity of osteocalcin and bone turnover.

Additionally, when bound to bone, part of osteocalcin is exposed to act as a magnet to recruit bone-processing cells to the bone surface to carry out bone resorption and formation.

“Based on the results of our study, we have designed some potential bone drugs and we are developing a method to screen for more,” said Hoang.

For more information contact:

Veronica McGuire
Media Relations
McMaster University
Faculty of Health Sciences
(905) 525-9140, ext. 22169

Daniel Yang
Professor, Biochemistry
McMaster University
Faculty of Health Sciences
(905) 525-9140, ext. 22455

Veronica McGuire | McMaster University
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>