Still in its infancy but looking promising is stem cell therapy for osteoporosis. California’s UC Davis is home to the Institute for Regenerative Cures, a leading player in regenerative medicine. Preliminary research with mice, published in Nature Medicine, demonstrated that bone density and strength could be improved using a molecule called LLP2A-Ale that directs mesenchymal stem cells to the surface of bone. Dr. Nancy Lane, a professor of Internal Medicine at UC Davis, will be the lead researcher in a clinical trial to test LLP2A-Ale beginning in 2014. A commentary by Herberg and Hill in IBMS Bone Key explains some of the difficulties faced by researchers in using stem cells to treat osteoporosis.

Guan, M., et al., 2012. Directing mesenchymal stem cells to bone to augment bone formation and increase bone mass. Nat Med 18(3):456-462.