Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

McMaster researchers pave the way to new drugs for bone diseases

30.10.2003


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
vmcguir@mcmaster.ca

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

Veronica McGuire | McMaster University
Further information:
http://www.mcmaster.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Graphene nanoflakes: a new tool for precision medicine
19.08.2019 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht A new method of tooth repair? Scientists uncover mechanisms to inform future treatment
09.08.2019 | University of Plymouth

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: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

Im Focus: Vehicle Emissions: New sensor technology to improve air quality in cities

Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.

Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...

Im Focus: Self healing robots that "feel pain"

Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.

Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...

Im Focus: Scientists create the world's thinnest gold

Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.

The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...

Im Focus: Study on attosecond timescale casts new light on electron dynamics in transition metals

An international team of scientists involving the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has unraveled the light-induced electron-localization dynamics in transition metals at the attosecond timescale. The team investigated for the first time the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. Their work has now appeared in Nature Physics.

The researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the MPSD (Germany), the Center for Computational Sciences of University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Center for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices

19.08.2019 | Information Technology

Researchers demonstrate three-dimensional quantum hall effect for the first time

19.08.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Catalysts for climate protection

19.08.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>