Your bones are not dead, static pieces of framework; your bones are alive and can be a source of pain. When you think about bone pain, you might remember a time when you broke a bone. But there are other times when bone pain happens. And when you do experience bone pain, there are some specific treatments to relieve it too.
Let’s first start with the list of catastrophic conditions that can cause bone pain. On top of that list is the most feared of all, cancer. Primary bone cancer or cancer that has spread to the bone (metastatic cancer) is very painful and is the first problem to rule out. Blood test, biopsies and imaging studies might all be necessary to find this sinister cause of bone pain. An equally concerning problem that leads to bone pain is a bone infection ( osteomyelitis ). In other parts of the world, tuberculosis (TB) is the most common cause of bone infections. But even in parts of the world where TB is almost unheard of, bone infections are not unheard of es...
Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease.” Its outward symptoms are hard to detect, and for many, especially those with a minor case, it’s virtually painless – unless it results in a broken bone or includes osteoarthritis. But being diagnosed with bone loss at a young age can cause personal issues, including emotional pain that’s every bit as difficult as a fractured wrist. Osteoporosis. Old ladies’ disease, right? Despite the gorgeous silver-haired, tennis-playing women in those magazine ads for Fosamax and Boniva, for most Americans osteoporosis inspires a mental image of a frail, white-haired woman, back hunched nearly double, slowly inching along with a walker. Well, it ain’t necessarily so. I was diagnosed with osteopenia at age 48. No gray hair. No grandkids. No tennis, either, but plenty of chasing around after kids, working long hours, and making regular visits to my “favorite” hangout: the gym. Thus I was shock...
Recently, the pharmaceutical company Amgen (the makers of
Enbrel ) announced that the results of a Phase 3 trial had been published which
studied the drug denosumab in postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Denosumab treatment significantly increased bone density in
the lumbar spine compared to placebo, in addition to the hip, the wrist and the
total body. In another study, the drug also seemed to protect bone from erosion
in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Denosumab is a monoclonal antibody which targets RANK
Ligand, a cell mediator that break down bone. RANK Ligand is found in many parts of bone.
What I find interesting is that Amgen is also looking at the
effect of denosumab on bone erosions in rheumatoid arthritis in a Phase 2
study. RANK Ligand-driven osteoclast
activity — osteoclasts being those cells which erode the bones — has been
implicated in the destructive bone erosions which are characteristic of rheumatoid
arthritis and other forms of er...
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