Institute Activities and Advances
Over the past two decades, Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch (PGNB) researchers have focused on finding alternatives to conventional therapy (vitamin D analogs and calcium supplementation) for the treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism. This pioneering work has demonstrated that parathyroid hormone (PTH) replacement therapy by injections or given by an insulin pump provides excellent metabolic control while avoiding the risks to the kidney usually associated with conventional therapy.
One of the Institute’s key goals is to ensure that the growing understanding of the endocrinology of hypoparathyroidism coordinates with its ability to translate this knowledge into application. For example:
- PGNB researchers have consistently shown that a synthetic parathyroid hormone—known as PTH 1-34—can offer multiple advantages over the currently approved calcium/vitamin D regimens. The scientists continue seeking to establish PTH 1-34 as a viable treatment option.
- Investigators have shown additional benefits over subcutaneous injection with the delivery of PTH through an insulin pump. This delivery option has multiple advantages over conventional therapy and PTH injections when studied in children with severe congenital forms of hypoparathyroidism or in individuals with post-surgical hypoparathyroidism.
The basic and clinical endocrine research facilities at the NIH are among the most extensive and highly regarded in the world. The NICHD plays a leading role in endocrinology research, which also has substantially enhanced our understanding of hypoparathyroidism.