Student research: Mitigating the risks of bisphosphonate treatment

laboratory equipmentIn treating many debilitating diseases, we are often faced with a difficult decision: how do we reconcile the potential benefits of treatment with the risks of adverse effects? Bisphosphonates (BPs) are widely used to treat bone cancers such as multiple myeloma and Paget’s disease of bone. Its role in inhibiting osteoclast activity has been shown to dramatically increase bone density and slow the course of aggressive bone malignancies. However, osteoclasts are needed for normal bone turnover and its inhibition by BP may lead to other devastating disorders such as osteonecrosis of the jaw.