Ultrasound could provide drug-free treatment of osteoporosis, fractures

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Qin ultrasound research - 365.91 Kb
Yi-Xian Qin, PhD, and Department of Biomedical Engineering graduate student, Jordan Rustad, look at evidence of changes in bone-forming cells as a result of exposure to ultrasound. Source: Stony Brook Medicine

Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have demonstrated an ultrasound-based method to promote bone cell growth, and the technique could eventually lead to non-pharmacologic treatments of osteoporosis, fractures and other conditions involving bone loss.

Led by Yi-Xian Qin, PhD, director of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory at Stony Brook, researchers found that medium-intensity focused ultrasound stimulates the mobility of osteoblasts and triggers calcium release, promoting growth. The specific ultrasound form used, acoustic radiation force, was consistently found to induce cellular cytoskeletal rearrangement in laboratory models of murine cells and accelerate intracellular calcium transportations and concentrations.

Qin’s previous findings with ultrasound include the creation of an ultrasound bone scanning device that can assess bone parameters beyond mineral density and is being developed as a diagnostic tool to predict early bone loss. Qin and colleagues are investigating ways to combine this potential diagnostic tool with the acoustic radiation force technology to identify bone loss and fracture within a bone region, then provide treatment to promote growth and healing.

The research projects are supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute through a Cooperative Agreement.