by Berno Dankbar, David de Gorter and Julia Reinhardt, Institute of Muskuloskeletal Medicine, University Hospital Münster (UKM)
At present our prime expertise is how to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in bone loss under inflammatory conditions, in particular in bone destruction in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. A few years ago, we have made a very interesting discovery: we found that a protein called Myostatin strongly enhances the formation of osteoclasts and that when we block the activity of Myostatin the excessive bone destruction is strongly reduced. Based on our studies, we think that blocking the activity of Myostatin in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will be very beneficial to prevent the bone loss associated with this disease.
Since we are aware of the urgent need for alternative approaches to treat bone metastasis, our aim is to investigate whether Myostatin is also involved in bone destruction in breast cancer and Multiple Myeloma. If this turns out to be the case, blocking the activity of Myostatin might not only be beneficial for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, but also for patients having bone metastasis with increased bone destruction.
Coming from the field of inflammatory bone erosion in arthritis, we are fascinated and excited to now apply our knowledge and expertise in this new research area and we appreciate being part of the Priority Program µBone which consists of leading experts in this field. By using the know-how and combining the expertise of this consortium, we hope that our results will pave the way to a novel treatment strategy which can soon be tested in clinical studies.