Immune studies suggest remedies for parathyroid hormone-driven bone loss

A common cause of bone loss is an overactive parathyroid gland, which doctors usually treat with surgery. New research on how excess parathyroid hormone affects immune cells suggests that doctors could repurpose existing drugs to treat hyperparathyroidism without surgery.

The results were published in Cell Metabolism.

“Surgery is sometimes not an appropriate remedy for hyperparathyroidism because of the condition of the patient, and it is also expensive,” says lead author and IMP faculty member, Roberto Pacifici, MD. “Also, the one pharmacological treatment that is available, cinacalcet, is not always the ideal solution. This work could potentially lead to alternatives.”

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine led by Pacifici teamed up with doctors from the University of Turin in Italy, combining observations of human patients with an overactive parathyroid with experiments on mice.

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