Four years in the works, the team from the Ageing Bone Research Program have observed that the odourless compound, called picolinic acid (derived from essential amino acid tryptophan) has shown promising results when tested on animals.
“This is a major step in the development of a completely new type of medication for osteoporosis,” commented lead researcher Professor Gustavo Duque.
“Instead of stopping bone destruction, our compound instead stimulates bone formation.
“The product is easily dissolved in water, has a higher level of absorption and did not induce any side effects in the treated mice.
“When this medication was administered in the water of normal and menopausal mice, picolinic acid strongly and safely increased bone mass in normal mice and rescued bone from menopause-associated osteoporosis.”
Professor Duque and his team hopes to trial the compound on humans soon in a bid to address the debilitating bone condition that affect 300 million people worldwide.
Despite the treatments currently on the market, Professor Duque believes that by 2050, the incidence of hip fractures in men will increase by 310 per cent and 240 per cent in women.
“In this case we are targeting the real problem by stimulating the bone forming cells to work and produce more bone, thus increasing bone mass and hopefully preventing new fractures,” he said.