Sarcopenia is a disease characterized by degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, and strength associated with aging which eventually weakens a person, making it difficult for a patient to walk or move around easily.
SARCOPENIA THERAPEUTICS DRUG CANDIDATES UNDER DEVELOPMENT (2018)
Further, the risk factors for the development of sarcopenia are sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, and aging. Consumption of high amounts of acid producing foods, such as grains and processed foods, and eating very few vegetables and fruits decreases the development of muscle mass. Muscle loss occurs due to decreased protein synthesis which is related to the reduction in anabolic factors and an increase in proteolysis. Muscle mass development is based on certain stimulating factors such as insulin, ghrelin, testosterone, IGF-1 and Vitamin D and the inhibitor factors, such as myostatin which act as an autocrine factor.
The symptoms of the disease are decreased muscle strength, poor mobility, frailty, weak bones (osteoporosis), falls and fractures, diabetes, and loss of physical function and independence. Sarcopenia can be diagnosed by a Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and also through a walking speed test.
Currently, there are no medications approved by the USFDA for the treatment of sarcopenia. According to the data published in the “Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic disorders’” in May 2017, the overall prevalence of sarcopenia is 10%, globally. The prevalence was higher among non- Asian population as compared to the Asian population, across both genders. Technological advancements, increased funding from government bodies and private sector are the factors driving the growth of sarcopenia therapeutics pipeline.
The sarcopenia therapeutics pipeline comprises of 13 drug candidates in different stages of development.
Some of the key players developing drugs for the treatment of sarcopenia include Novartis AG, Biophytis SAS, Vibe Pharmaceuticals LLC.