Therapeutic Approaches to Bone Diseases

Rcjohnsen rcjohnsen at
Sun Sep 3 22:56:27 EST 2000

Sci.  Sept. 1, 00   1508-1514
Therapeutic Approaches to Bone Diseases 

Gideon A. Rodan,1* T. John Martin2  
The strength and integrity of our bones depends on maintaining a delicate
balance between bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone formation by
osteoblasts. As we age or as a result of disease, this delicate balancing act
becomes tipped in favor of osteoclasts so that bone resorption exceeds bone
formation, rendering bones brittle and prone to fracture. A better
understanding of the biology of osteoclasts and osteoblasts is providing
opportunities for developing therapeutics to treat diseases of bone. Drugs that
inhibit the formation or activity of osteoclasts are valuable for treating
osteoporosis, Paget's disease, and inflammation of bone associated with
rheumatoid arthritis or periodontal disease. Far less attention has been paid
to promoting bone formation with, for example, growth factors or hormones, an
approach that would be a valuable adjunct therapy for patients receiving
inhibitors of bone resorption. 
1 Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, USA. 
2 St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne 3065, Australia. 
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: gideon_rodan at 

   Visiting Research Scholar at Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN
46285, USA. 


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