A $1.2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to Dr. Hamrick,bone biologist in the Medical College of Georgia Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine, is enabling laboratory studies of two experimental myostatin inhibitors: a decoy receptor and a binding protein, both developed by MetaMorphix, Inc. of Beltsville, Md. Both inhibitors have been shown effective in muscle regeneration, but this is the first trial that looks at their impact on bone.
They are studying two myostatin inhibitors in mice with limb injuries, first to see which works best and then to identify the best delivery mechanism, says Dr. Mark Hamrick, bone biologist in the Medical College of Georgia Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine.
“Fifty to 60 percent of the injuries occurring in Iraq are to the limbs, and the average injury requires five surgeries,” Dr. Hamrick says. “Myostatin inhibitors are known to improve muscle regeneration and we have evidence that they also increase bone formation. We believe these inhibitors will result in a stronger, more rapid recovery for these soldiers and other victims of traumatic limb injuries.”
Bone and muscle healing typically go hand in hand. Muscle provides blood, growth factors and potentially stem cells for a healing callus. It’s not yet known how well bones reciprocate. “If you can improve muscle healing, you can improve bone healing,” Dr. Hamrick says. “Young people have a tremendous potential to heal that can be improved with better approaches to preventing infection and to healing soft tissue and bone in an integrated manner.”
Researchers hope to move to clinical trials in two to three years, Dr. Hamrick says. “If we find the primary role of myostatin is very early in the healing process and see a big jump in expression early in a fracture callus, it may be that a single injection bolus immediately after injury is the best time for treatment rather than continued treatment over a period of time.”
Roughly the same article, but the Medical College site has some link issues.
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