Bisphosphonates, a class of drugs that prevent the loss of bone mass, are used to treat a variety of bone dissolution disorders – from osteoporosis and Paget’s disease to bone loss due to cancer. While these anti-resorptive medications can offer effective therapies, several have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) with a broad health impact and economic burden. The estimated incidence of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) ranges as high as 10 to 15% in high-risk cancer patients. Since the first report of BRONJ in 2003, the slow progress in the diagnosis and treatment underscores the urgent need for translational and clinical research on this important topic.
This symposium features researchers and clinicians from both Penn Dental Medicine and Penn Medicine and is built on the multidisciplinary interaction between the different specialties engaged in research and clinical management of ONJ patients. The program will address gaps in our understanding of how anti-resorptive drugs may interfere with immune function, wound healing, and bone repair, and explore how to bridge these findings in the development of new prevention and intervention strategies for ONJ.