As a disease with no known cure, Osteoporosis—the silent and asymptomatic bone weakening disease—causes 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in a fracture every three seconds. It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of all women will suffer the disease in their lifetime. As such, early detection is crucial to treating the disease and slowing down its progression. Unfortunately, Bone Densitometry via Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), the prevalent method to diagnose this disease, presents several shortcomings. For starters, the procedure is quite bulky and time-consuming to scale for mass testing. It does not provide an accurate reflection of fracture risk in patients with degenerative changes, for those treated with corticosteroids, and in those with a small or large frame or body weight. DXA tests are also susceptible to inaccuracies. To effectively tackle Osteoporosis, clinicians across the globe have always sought out a compact, accurate and quicker alternative. To this end, Germany-based osteolabs brings to the fore their revolutionary, first-of-its-kind, OsteoTest kits for Osteoporosis testing.
The value proposition of the OsteoTest, lies in its ability to do away with patient x-ray or any other form of radiation. From mere urine and/or blood samples, the technology behind the OsteoTest can determine the calcium ratios in the bone to diagnose Osteoporosis. The test detects the amount of light Calcium isotopes present in the blood and/or urine during Osteoporosis, as opposed to the heavy isotope present in a healthy person. Interestingly, the novelty behind OsteoTest stems from a study carried out at NASA. “As a follow up, clinical studies were carried out in cooperation with University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre. With a sensitivity of 100 per cent, all previously detected cases of osteoporosis were identified by using calcium isotope markers (CIM).
With OsteoTest, unlike traditional DXA test, the diagnosis of osteoporosis can be made before larger quantities of bone substance have been lost
In addition, thanks to the newly developed method, other affected women could also be identified,” recalls Dr. Stefan Kloth, CEO at osteolabs. OsteoTest was clinically validated by Michael Müller, Senior Physician of the Clinic for Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, UKSH. He even co-authored about it in the journal ‘Bone Reports 10 (2019). “We have used this early test, which is based on a calcium isotope fractionation by mass spectrometry, here at the UKSH since 2019,” testifies Müller.
Clinicians can leverage OsteoTest in a matter of five simple steps—ordering a test kit, taking blood and urine sample from the patient, submitting the samples to osteolabs’ partner laboratory and getting the results in a few days. The sampling kit that is no bigger than the size of two standard playing cards boxes, comes with all essential equipment to collect and dispatch the samples.
Unlike traditional DXA test, with OsteoTest, the diagnosis of osteoporosis can be made before larger quantities of bone substance have been lost. Besides, the effectiveness of the treatments can be measured within a matter of days, if not weeks—such is the accuracy of the test. Osteolabs won the “Germany-Land of Ideas” award in 2017 for its outstanding research achievements. “The development of the new and radiation-free diagnostic procedure was funded by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Helmholtz Association Berlin,” adds Dr. Kloth.
Osteolabs is currently inviting all doctors and clinicians to pioneer their innovation. The company is also looking to partner with labs to broaden their reach across geographies. “We see ourselves having disrupted the market within 6 years. In the next 2 years we are rolling out in Europe. We have also just opened up our UK office and will soon enter the US market in 2022/2023 together with a potential partner,“ concludes Dr. Kloth.