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Bonekey Rep. 2012 May 2;1:67. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2012.67. eCollection 2012.

Therapeutic inhibition of cathepsin K-reducing bone resorption while maintaining bone formation.

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Department of Bone Biology, Merck Research Laboratories , West Point, PA, USA .


Osteoporosis is a disease of high bone remodeling with an imbalance of bone resorption over bone formation, resulting in decreased bone mineral density and deterioration of bone microarchitecture. From the emerging understandings of the molecular and cellular regulators of bone remodeling, potential new targets for therapeutic intervention for this disease have been identified. Cathepsin K (CatK), a cysteine protease produced by osteoclasts, is the primary enzyme mediating the degradation of the demineralized bone matrix. Current genetic and pharmacological evidence from studies in multiple preclinical species have consistently demonstrated that inhibition of CatK results in the reduction of bone resorption while allowing bone formation to continue. Early results from clinical studies with several investigational CatK inhibitors indicate that the impact of CatK inhibition on bone formation is distinct from that of either the bisphosphonates or the anti-receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand antibody, denosumab. Odanacatib, a highly selective, reversible and potent inhibitor of CatK, is currently in phase III clinical trials for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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