A new device for diagnosing osteoporosis invented by the Hospitals of the University of Geneva (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) has been approved for marketing in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. It was launched this summer under license from Northern Irish company ProAxsis. The device is based on a new approach to assess bone quality through blood sampling. This test is more specific than current technologies and will greatly improve diagnosis and drive the development of new treatments for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem. The main cause is osteoporosis, which affects 30% of the Swiss population. Type 2 diabetes, which affects 10% of the population, is a risk factor because it increases the risk of fracture almost twice.
As the population ages, osteoporosis and osteoporosis fractures are expected to increase by 23% in EU countries, from 2.7 million in 2017 to 3.3 million in 2030. In Switzerland, the current annual number of 82,000 osteoporotic fractures is expected to rise to Approximately 105,000 in 25 years.
Osteoporosis must be diagnosed before a fracture occurs, because depending on the age of the person and the affected bone, a fracture can lead to severe chronic pain and even increase the risk of death.
The basis of this invention lies in the properties of the periosteum, the membrane that covers bones and plays an essential role in their growth and repair. It secretes a key protein that controls bone diameter and, therefore, its strength: periostin. During bone resorption, the enzyme cathepsin K breaks it down. The digested periostin fraction, called k-POSTN, is also found in the blood, thus reflecting osteoporosis. The significance of this piece lies in the peculiarity of its bones, unlike intact periostin, which has been known to scientists for a long time, but can also increase cardiovascular diseases and cancers. distance blood sample Taken, k-POSTN is quantified in the laboratory using the ELISA assay, a widely used method for measuring molecules in a biological sample.
The new device has the potential to help healthcare professionals identify and monitor people at high risk of osteoporotic fractures as well as those with weak bone diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In addition, it allows for therapeutic intervention at an early stage, before a fracture occurs, a fact that should undoubtedly reduce the burden of orthopedic disease on health systems and significantly improve patients’ quality of life.
This device is intended to complement bone densitometry, the imaging technology currently used to assess osteoporosis. “This is a process that can unfortunately be biased in the case of type 2 diabetes. The increase in weight and fat mass typical of diabetes blurs the measurement of bone mineral density, which may appear normal despite the presence of fragile bone tissue. The new device overcomes these limitations.” , says Serge Ferrari, chief of HUG’s Orthopedic Service, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Medicine at UNIGE School of Medicine and co-inventor.
k-POSTN improves prediction of osteoporosis by increasing the accuracy and specificity of techniques currently used to identify people at risk for bone fractures. “Our diagnostics will enable researchers and pharmaceutical companies It participates in the development of new treatments for osteoporosis to obtain accurate, specific and quantitative measures of the effect of its experimental products”, says Serge Ferrari.
Unique development process
This discovery is the result of the work of Professor Serge Ferrari and Nicolas Bonnet, a private physician in the Department of Medicine at UNIGE Medical School.
Discover for the first time this new process based on direct measurement of a product of the natural biochemical process bone decay. They then began developing the ELISA test in 2014. HUG and UNIGE filed an initial patent in 2016, after which the test capabilities and quality took care of ProAxsis Ltd, based in Northern Ireland, for a license in 2021. The test received the CE mark In June 2022 for marketing in Europe.
Serge Ferrari concludes, “It is not often that a product developed in a university hospital is marketed. And even less so in such a short time. We owe it to the excellent cooperation with our partners.”
Presented by Hôpitaux Universitaires de Geneve
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