Bone loss, leg swelling solutions on horizon
By the time treatment starts for those suffering from the bone degeneration of osteoporosis, it’s typically too late to fully restore bone loss – that’s something Simon Fraser University chemist Robert Young is working to change.
In Young’s SFU lab, several novel dual-action agents designed to stop bone loss and restore bone mass have been synthesized.
Now Young and collaborator Marc Grympas from the University of Toronto are planning to take the most promising of these to the pre-clinical drug development stage.
Working with CDRD Ventures Inc., Young has received a 2012 Collaborative Health Research Project (CHRP) grant worth $500,000.
Young, who holds the Merck Frost, BC Discovery Chair in Pharmaceutical Genomics, Bioinformatics and Drug Discovery at SFU, heads a team of internationally recognized experts in bone disease and drug development working to create new drugs to stimulate bone regeneration.
The team received a $2.5-million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in July.
Young says the researchers are creating new drugs that combine bone resorption suppressing activities with bone formation stimulating activities, designed to slowly release active components that stimulate high quality bone formation.
Meanwhile, Andrew Blaber, a professor of biomedical physiology and kinesiology, is using a CHRP grant to develop “smart” material to aid leg swelling.
The study is part of Blaber’s ongoing research into the causes of fainting and devising ways to detect and prevent fainting. “One of the components of fainting is the pooling of blood in the lower limbs during standing, which reduces blood returning to the heart and the brain,” says Blaber.
The $200,000 grant, along with another $200,000 in funding from the Natural Sciences Engineering and Research Council (NSERC), will be applied to the development of a smart material technology solution. Blaber says the new solution will be more effective than currently available devices, such as compression leg massagers and compression stockings.
One in 62 Canadians, especially the elderly, pregnant women and spinal cord injury patients, suffer from excessive swelling of the legs, a condition associated with pain, varicose veins, and hypotension that can lead to fainting and falls.
The CHRP Program grants were announced today at McGill University. The program supports collaborative research projects involving any field of the natural sciences or engineering and the health sciences, that lead to health benefits for Canadians, more effective health services and economic development in health-related areas.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.