Osteoporosis Research Programme

The Osteoporosis Research Programme was formed in 1990 by academic staff members from Department of Community and Family Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, Department of Medicine and Therapeutic, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Department of Paediatrics. The mission was to conduct multidisciplinary research, and to address the problem of osteoporosis from childhood, through adolescent, the menopause and old age. A comprehensive programme was developed to embrace edpidemology, clinical trails, genetic and biomechanics research.

Research Projects

1. Epidemiological Studies

Epidemiological studies are essential in allowing an understanding of disease burden, ethnic difference and risk factors for osteoporosis. They form the basis for preventive and control programmes.

Project of major Impact

  • Asian Osteoporosis Study – A study of hip fracture in 5 Asian counties
  • Vetebral fracture in Chinese men and women (RGC Project)

Ongoing projects of major impact

  • MrOS and MsOS – The first cohort study in osteoporosis in Chinese Men and Women
  • Prospective study of Adolescent Idiopathic scoliosis (RGC Project)
  • Sudies in postmenopausal women and teenagers

2. Genetic and Genome Studies

Gene may determine 80% of the variability in bone mass; and genome studies have the potential to be applied to genetic screening, case finding as well as gene therapy.

Genetic Linkage and Polymorphism Studies – Candidate gene studies search for an association between a polymorphism and a phenotype such as BMD. The following genes are under massive investigation:

  1. Vitamin D Receptor (VDR)
  2. Estrogen Receptor (ESR)
  3. Collagen Type 1& I(COL1AI & COL1AII)
  4. Apolipoprotein E(ApoE4 )
  5. Transforming Growth Factor 1(TGF1)
  6. Interleukin (IL-1,IL6)

With recent advances in Human Genome Project & biotechnology such as small nucleotide polymorphism maps, we are now able to perform allelic association studies on whole genome search. This should eventually lead to better prevention strategies and more receptor-based therapies against osteoporosis.

Selected Projects of Major Impact

  • Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism and bone mass in young women, postmenopausal women and elderly men (RGC Project)
  • Estrogen receptor gene polymorphism and bone mass in young and postmenopausal women
  • COL1AI & COL1AII gene and bone mass

Ongoing Projects of Major Impact

  • Gene and bone mass in children
  • Genome and familial linkage studies in children

3. Clinical Trials

Clinical trials, particularly trials pertaining to drug development, form the foundation for therapeutics in osteoporosis. Clinical trials can also be applied to evaluate preventive measures, and to develop evidence-based recommendations.

Ongoing phase III studies

  • ╴╴ Bisphosphonate ( Alendronate, Risedronate)
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM)
  • Parathyroid hormone

Selected Projects of Major Impact

  • Alendronate in the prevention of bone loss in postmenopausal Chinese women (FIT, HK)
  • Alendronate in the preventive of bone loss in women with vertebral fracture (FIT, HK)
  • Randomized controlled trials to evaluate the role of milk supplementation in children bone health
  • Randomized controlled trials on exercise programme (RGC Project)

Ongoing Projects of Major Impact

  • Phase III trials on new selected Estrogen Receptor Modulators, new bisphosphonates & parathyroid hormone

4. Biomechanic Studies

An understanding of bone geometry, bone structure, bone strength is essential for fracture prevention.

  • Structure Analysis –Three dimension structural snalysis using microCT system in biopsy same
  • Strain Strength Index – SSI, a mathematical parameter calculated from the peripheral quantitative computerized tomography (pQCT), predict fracture loading in mechanical testing than BMD alone.

Selected projects of major impact

  • Case control study of bone strength index of distal tibia in habitual exerciser and non-exercise control
  • A biomechanical and histomorphometrical study for the improvement of implant fixation on osteoporotic bone with ovariectomised female goats

Ongoing projects of major impact

  • Application of micro-CT and volumetric peripheral quantitative computerized tomography in study of bone strength, bone structure and fracture

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Last revision date: Jun 2018