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Cathepsin K Inhibitors: A Novel Target but Promising Approach in the Treatment of Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis is a pathologic process characterized by low bone mass with skeletal fragility and an increased risk of fracture. It occurs due to an imbalance between bone resorption and formation. Although current antiresorptive therapy halts bone loss, it does not cure the condition as it also inhibits bone formation. Recent preclinical and clinical trials suggest that the inhibition of resorption by cathepsin K inhibitors increases bone formation. Cathepsin K is a papainlike cysteine protease with high potent collagenase activity and predominantly expressed in osteoclasts. While allowing demineralization, cathepsin K inhibitors suppress the degradation of type I collagen (the major organic matrix of bone) and thus enhancing bone formation. Many of these inhibitors have passed preclinical studies and are presently in clinical trials at different stages of advancement. This review explores the promising role of cathepsin K as a novel antiresorptive for the treatment of osteoporosis.
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Keywords: Bone remodeling; bone resorption; bone turnover markers; cathepsin K; osteoclast; osteoporosis; selective cathepsin K inhibitors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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