Currently, no pharmacological treatments are available. There is therefore an unmet need for medications that can stimulate bone healing. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is the first bone anabolic drug approved for the treatment of osteoporosis, and intriguingly a number of animal studies suggest that PTH could be beneficial in the treatment of fractures and could thus be a potentially new treatment option for induction of bone healing.
Non-union of fractures occur when the normal process of bone healing is interrupted and the fracture does not heal properly or does not heal at all. Nonunion of bones is a serious complication of a fracture and may occur when the fracture moves too much, has a poor blood supply or gets infected. The most common reported risk factor is an open fracture. A non-union will not heal if left alone. Therefore the patient's symptoms will not improve and the function of the limb will remain impaired. It will be painful to bear weight on the affected area and it may be deformed or unstable. Another population that could use assistance with bone healing is someone who needs dental implants. The bone takes 2-4 months to properly heal in order to be ready for the dental implants.
Current treatment for non-union is only operative and there are no medications available to accelerate bone healing. The idea of offering PTH 1-34 which is a bone building hormone, will help to reduce the amount of non-unions occurring each year and can help in the bone healing process for people who suffer from non-union. This will lead to less secondary surgeries and possibly help decrease the amount of sick time due to the faster healing time.
There have been a number of animal studies conducted that suggest that PTH could be beneficial in the treatment of fractures.
Stress fractures are overuse injuries to bones caused by repetitive stresses. Stress fractures may be the result of a small number of repetitions with a relatively large load (eg, a military recruit marching for several miles with a heavy backpack), a large number of repetitions with a usual load (eg, an athlete training for a long-distance race), or a combination of increased load and increased repetitions.