Scientists at Rush in Chicago have succeeded in trials of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) injections to treat short stature. It’s the first approved hormone for growth in decades:
In healthy individuals, growth hormone is secreted into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland and binds to growth hormone receptors on liver and other cells, where it stimulates the cellular production and secretion of IGF-1 into the bloodstream….
Increlex is a genetically engineered copy of IGF-1. The purified protein has been shown to be structurally and functionally identical to natural human IGF-1. It is injected daily before a meal to provide the catalyst the body needs to grow.
The FDA’s approval of Increlex is based on clinical trial data from 71 patients. Data reported at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society demonstrated a statistically significant increase in growth rate over an eight-year period in response to Increlex therapy. Compared to pre-treatment growth patterns, on average, children gained an additional inch per year for each year of therapy over the course of eight years. In addition, an analysis of safety in the study concluded that long-term treatment appears to be well tolerated and has an acceptable safety profile. The most common adverse events were hypoglycemia, lipohypertrophy and tonsillar hypertrophy.
If we recall our medical school physiology, growth hormone is secreted in a pulsatile manner from the pituitary — meaning part of the failure of hGH shots was the non-physiologic dosing profile.
IGF, on the other hand, was always being picked up and released from binding proteins — and thus, perhaps, more suited for a long-acting injection. The evidence for IGF already seems stronger than that of hGH — in the future, we’d expect more indications for IGF use (and eventually, a reappraisal of what it means to be “short”).
More at Tercica…