Two fellowships have been assigned in 2021 to young investigators working in clinical and basic/translational research. They are Dr Maria Papageorgiou from the University of Geneve and Dr Biagio Palmisano from Sapienza University of Rome. Here we have the pleasure to report a brief summary of their project and their own feelings about having been awarded with such a grant.
Dr Papageorgiou told us that “it is a great honor to have received this clinical fellowship by this inspiring community. This fellowship gives me great motivation to keep doing more nutrition research in the bone field. It also provides me valuable opportunities to establish new collaborations, enhance my research network and communicate the results of my work”. Here is the summary of her project: “The research project aims to explore whether practicing time-restricted eating (TRE, namely eating within a ≤12-hour daily period, followed by a daily fast ≥12 hours) for 6 months affects bone metabolism and health in adults with ≥1 component of metabolic syndrome. Specifically, we will evaluate changes in i) bone turnover markers (β-carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen [β-CTx] and N-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen [P1NP]), ii) endocrine factors with an important role in bone health (parathyroid hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, vitamin D) and bone mineral density assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. In case of observed changes in these parameters, we will explore whether these can be explained by changes in body weight, body composition, metabolic and lifestyle parameters. This topic is of great importance for clinical and public health. Obesity is an ongoing public health challenge and large number of people are already practicing/are likely to practice TRE in the future due to the increasing evidence that this intervention confers several metabolic benefits. Nevertheless, it is largely unknown whether these benefits are accompanied by bone loss (similar to the bone loss seen in response to other types of weight loss interventions).”
Here are Dr Palmisano’s words on his experience as the fellowship recipient: “I am truly honored and grateful to receive the 2021 ECTS fellowship award. This support from ECTS is extremely important for my professional growth because it will allow me to generate proof of concept data that could help me to apply for bigger projects and larger studies. It also motivates me to keep working in the bone biology field that has been my main interest from the beginning of my career. This award will allow me to conduct an important project that may provide important insights into the pathogenesis, clinical expression, and treatment of fibrous dysplasia (FD) of bone, a rare genetic disease of the skeleton”. The summary of the project is as follows: “Fibrous dysplasia patients have been treated for long time with bisphosphonates (BPs), with poor clinical outcome and conflicting results on bone pain and on the levels of markers of bone turnover. Indeed, our results on an FD transgenic mouse model confirm that BP treatment is not effective on the pathology of FD and could rather worsen it. Therefore, FD patients expect new therapies that can prevent and/or correct the disease, especially the polyostotic forms that may not be treated by surgery. While these therapies are being identified and developed, they also expect treatments that are effective in reducing pain and improving their quality of life. Using the FD mouse model, we have already demonstrated that RANKL inhibition is an effective therapeutic approach for FD able to modify the histopathology and the natural history of the disease whereas the BP zoledronate is not. However, we have also confirmed that the RANKL inhibition approach may have undesired effects that call for further experimental studies, that could be managed by the addition of BPs. As a logic development of my previous work, and in agreement with the commitment of ECTS towards the development of innovative treatments that enable benefit to patients with metabolic bone diseases, the project attempts to refine the anti-RANKL approach in FD mice by combining an anti-RANKL antibody with zoledronate.”