Helen Hayes Hospital Researchers Awarded Grant from National Institutes of Health

May 21, 2010

Will fund study in hip fracture prevention

The world-renowned osteoporosis research team at Helen Hayes Hospital, New York State’s premier physical rehabilitation and research facility, has been awarded a four year $1.4 million research grant by the National Institute of Arthritis,

Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will fund a study examining the effect of Teriparatide (TPTD), an osteoporosis medication, on bone growth in the hip region.

The Principal investigator is Felicia Cosman, M.D., an endocrinologist and osteoporosis specialist and Medical Director of the hospital’s Clinical Research Center. The research team includes: David Dempster, Ph.D., Director, HHH Regional Bone Center; Jeri Nieves, Ph.D., Administrator, Clinical Research Center; Mathias Bostrum, M.D., Director Outpatient Orthopedic Services; and Robert Lindsay, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Clinical Research Center.

The study will be performed in people between the ages of 60 and 85 who are undergoing a total joint replacement in the hip. Half of them will receive teriparatide and half will receive placebo for about six to eight weeks prior to their surgery. Bone samples that are removed routinely during the hip replacement surgery will then be examined to determine precisely where and how much bone is formed in the hip when people are treated with TPTD.

Teriparatide, which was approved for the treatment of osteoporosis by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003, is the only osteoporosis medication currently available that actually rebuilds bone and reverses the damage caused by the disease.

“We know that teriparatide is a very effective bone-building medication for the spine, but we have very little information on how teriparatide works in the hip region,” explains Dr. Cosman. “The study is a creative and novel approach to examine the mechanism of action of the medication at the tissue level. There is no other way to obtain hip specimens.” The study will also evaluate various biomarkers of medication effect, including investigating the size of the circulating precursor pool for osteoblasts, the cells responsible for new bone formation.

Participation in the study will take approximately six to ten weeks and will require two study visits. For information on the study or how to participate, call 845-786-4757.