Alendronate is a highly effective treatment for osteoporosis. It’s one of a class of medicines known as bisphosphonates prescribed for the condition. “Alendronate has been shown to reduce risk of new vertebral and hip fractures by about 50% and of all clinical fractures by about 30%,” found researchers. In addition, there were no adverse impacts on bone mineralisation and microstructures.
However, oral medications for osteoporosis can cause side effects, such as atypical fractures, atrial fibrillation and osteonecrosis of the jaw. To prevent such side effects, scientists have developed a new drug delivery system using nanodiamonds, a carbon-based nanomaterial, as a carrier for Alendronate. Thousands of times smaller than a human hair, NDs offer incredible potential as drug delivery systems with few of the adverse side effects of traditional oral medication.
In the new paper, scientists describe how they have used in-vivo studies to assess the bone-targeted ability of Alen-conjugated NDs (Alen-NDs). The research team synthesised Alen-NDs before being introduced to mouse cells. The results were promising, say the authors. “We successfully demonstrated the superior performance of Alen-NDs for osteogenic differentiation in terms of cell proliferation, morphological changes, FACS analysis, ALP activity, calcium contents and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression levels,” they said.
So, where could the research lead? “We believe that Alen-NDs have great potential to enhance osteogenic differentiation, ultimately increasing bone formation,” said the authors.
The next stage is the in vivo evaluation of Alen-NDs as a therapeutic agent for osteoporosis treatment, say the authors.
At MyBones, we welcome the findings and are excited about the potential for Alen-NDs. We know from our panel of users and ambassadors that oral bisphosphonates prescribed for osteoporosis can cause significant side effects that can affect quality of life. It’s also true that those prescribed bisphosphonates may need to take the drugs for five years or more.
To find out more about the ways you can manage osteoporosis, why not check out our handy guide.
You can read the full paper, Enhanced osteogenic differentiation of alendronate-conjugated nanodiamonds for potential osteoporosis treatment, here.