Regenerative drug completely restores bone in preclinical study

Tooth loss

A new study has demonstrated the ability of an experimental regenerative medicine to restore bone in an animal. 

Bone loss is a part of ageing that compromises quality of life and movement in many older people, but regenerative treatments to improve their health and well-being have been limited. 

The preclinical study, led by Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) scientist Ellen Heber-Katz, focused on a model of periodontal disease, which causes gum and bone loss that lead to tooth loss. Study results showed that time release of the experimental drug, called 1,4-DPCA, fully restored diseased gums and the surrounding jaw bone, completely preventing tooth loss. 

“Development of this experimental drug represents one of the most cutting-edge research directions LIMR has driven in the 21st century,” said George Prendergast, President and CEO of the Institute. “In going beyond the uncertainties of stem cell treatments, this study also offers the first preclinical proof of concept for an off-the-shelf drug that could dramatically improve the health span of an individual by regenerating bone.  

“It also for the first time suggests the potential anti-ageing uses for this drug treatment as far as broadening how it can be used to instruct perfect healing by the body.” 

Perfect healing without scarring 

The drug 1,4-DPCA works by inhibiting a molecule that blocks production of a master molecule called hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1a), a key component that is part of the body’s healing response. By temporarily elevating HIF-1a, the drug shifts a tissue’s metabolic state toward one used in early fetal development, where perfect healing without scarring is possible. 

“The results of this study are as powerful as we could have anticipated,” said Heber-Katz, the Daniel B and Florence E Green Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine Research. “The restoration of significant amounts of lost bone and tissue was complete. I’m optimistic that this drug will move forward and eventually be used to prevent tooth loss in patients suffering from periodontal disease – one of the many ways we think it could be useful.” 

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