Researchers at the University of Manchester have secured more than £800,000 funding to develop a new treatment for osteoporosis. They have been handed the cash by The Medical Research Council to keep developing a drug based on a human protein called TSG-6. TSG-6 is naturally produced by the body at sites of inflammation and has proved to prevent the breakdown of bone tissue. The research team, led by Prof Tony Day, Dr Caroline Milner and Dr Matthew Hardman, believes TSG-6 could help prevent osteoporosis, which causes bones to deteriorate and become prone to fractures. The University of Manchester owns the patent for the use of TSG-6 to treat osteoporosis, which is granted in Europe and pending in the USA and Japan. It is looking to license the technology or team up with a partner to take it to market. A TSG-6-based drug could be of significant interest to the pharmaceutical industry given that the global market for osteoporosis is worth almost £6bn. Half of women and 20 per cent of men aged over 50 will suffer at least one bone fracture caused by osteoporosis in their lifetime and the cost of treating osteoporosis in the UK is expected to grow to £2.1bn by 2020. Prof Day said: “This funding from the MRC will allow our pre-clinical development of a novel inhibitor of bone loss, which we believe has great promise as a therapeutic for osteoporosis.” This study will include analysis of the drug by Euprotec, a contract research organisation based at the Manchester Science Parks.