Osteoporosis is a bone degenerative disease that affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men worldwide. This disease causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually. In fact, osteoporotic patients often present fragility fractures as result of light trauma or even nontraumatic conditions. Both diagnostics and therapeutic options for osteoporotic patients present major limitations. Currently, the diagnosis of osteoporosis is based solely on the determination of bone mineral density (BMD). BMD-based diagnostic is often performed too late (i.e. when their osteoporosis is usually established or severe) and does not consider factors like bone geometry, microarchitecture, cortical porosity, tissue-level components, degree of mineralization and microdamage. All these factors have a demonstrated impact on bone strength and osteoporosis. One study will combine μCT, Raman microspectroscopy, histology and miRNA analysis to optimize diagnosis. The parameters obtained by these techniques will be associated in order to obtain a most complete dataset.
Furthermore, fractures in osteoporotic patients have a poor healing capacity. Tissue engineering approaches may be a highly promising means to treat fracture and bone defects in osteoporotic patients. miRNA modulating molecules will be complexed as dendrimers. The resulting dendriplexes will be loaded onto scaffolds. The in vitro osteogenic potential will be tested. Subsequently, they will be investigated in a critical-sized femur defect model. The bone regenerate will be studied using the markers as used in the diagnostic study.