5. WNT Signalling Drugs
WNT signalling drugs are considered to be a cancer medication – and they are indeed used in cancer trials and treatments – but some pharmaceutical firms and researchers are looking into the effect these drugs can actually have on bone health.
In the body, there is a WNT/LRP5 pathway. In layman’s terms, this is a pathway in the body and a process that allows us to form bones and maintain healthy bone structure. When the body produces WNTs, it is able to use these glycoproteins to create strong and healthy bones. Research is moving forward and looking at how WNT signalling drugs can encourage the body to produce more glycoproteins and in turn cure osteoporosis.
Doctors have already used implants to replace bones in people who have extremely severe osteoporosis, but research is ongoing to find out whether it would be possible to replace more bone in the body with man-made substitutes. Grafts can be made of synthetic substitutes mixed with human bone, but they’re not exactly easy to ‘install’ in many parts of the body.
Research is also being performed into the viability of using bones from recently-deceased people in the same way that organs can be transplanted. Dutch scientists have previously mixed an antibiotic with bisphosphonate drugs to help improve bone grafting, which saw positive results.