Estrogen and progesterone are both hormones associated with maintaining women’s health, and both drop to record lows during menopause, as depicted in Figure 1, and remain low upon diagnosis of osteoporosis . Hormone therapy along with calcium supplements are considered to be somewhat successful in the prevention of osteoporosis, and are sometimes used to help ease the symptoms of women diagnosed with post-menopausal osteoporosis. Yet, these methods alone are not directly targeted toward the exact progestins associated with early onset osteoporosis. Several antibodies associated with estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors do exist but are not successful because the therapeutic drug does not specifically target the progestin receptors strictly associated with bone growth .
Developing an aptamer for progesterone specifically associated with receptors for bone growth would increase the effectiveness of treating menopausal osteoporosis. Specifically targeting progesterone, so that it can function for drug delivery, would allow for progesterone molecules carrying a drug that increases bone growth to bind at various sites such as the TE85 osteosarcoma receptor , a receptor that plays a large role in promoting regeneration a bone growth . Progesterone is a very small steroid hormone that possesses a high binding affinity inside of the cell membrane, and these characteristics allow for a wide use of aptamers to treat varying degrees and stages of osteoporosis uniquely . Therefore, an anti-progesterone aptamer would be used as a means for highly specified drug delivery to progesterone receptors (via progesterone aptamers) associated with bone growth and result in a prevention of further bone density loss.
Specific Aim: Develop an aptamer for progesterone hormones to prevent or treat the symptoms of menopausal (stage one) osteoporosis.