Our Research

Cutting edge research is a hallmark of our Osteoporosis Program.  We are establishing links between osteoporosis and breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health and ways to reduce the impact of these diseases on bones.  Our research team has played a key role in the development of guidelines and policies for osteoporosis care in Canada and North America. We are very grateful to all our volunteer study participants for helping us conduct critical research to help reduce suffering due to bone loss and osteoporosis-related fractures.

We are currently recruiting participants for the research studies listed below. Please contact the respective study coordinator if you are interested in participating or would like more information.

Current Studies

Personalizing Osteoporosis Care: Atypical Femur Fracture (AFF) Clinical and Genetic Risk Factors Study (2018)

Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than a heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined

The current approach to preventing osteoporosis-related fractures is to provide very different types of people similar types of bone medications in standard dosage, regardless of sex, age, or race, weight or health status. But not all patients experience the same benefits or side effects of treatment.  We want to understand why and how treatment can be more personalized in the future.

Medical researchers from across Canada are looking for volunteers to help them understand how to personalize osteoporosis care.

What is the Personalizing Osteoporosis Care: Atypical Femur Fracture (AFF) Clinical and Genetic Risk Factors Study?

This national study is examining the relationship between the use of bone medications and genetic makeup for the risk of developing an AFF.

Specifically we are looking at whether clinical or genetic factors influence the benefits or risks of bone medications, and possible side effects such as Atypical Femur Fractures (AFFs), a serious type of fracture that is not well understood.

Who should participate in this study?

We encourage you to participate if you are:

  • a woman over 18 years of age
  • have taken bone medications such as
    • Risedronate (Actonel)
    • Alendronate (Fosamax, Fosavance)
    • Etidronate (Didronel, Didrocal)
    • Zolendronate (Aclasta, Reclast)
    • Pamidronate (Aredia)
    • Prolia (denosumab)
  • Have or have not had an atypical femur fracture

What can I expect as a participant?

As a participant in this study, we would ask you to attend one of our collaborating centres in your area for a one-time visit, and provide the following:

  • Answer questions about your medical/family health history,
  • Blood samples for genetic testing, bone health blood tests, and other bone biomarkers,
  • Fingernail samples to examine protein structure,
  • X-rays of your femurs, either to confirm your AFF or to make sure you don’t have one,
  • Bone Mineral Density scan to assess the health of your bones.  

Why should you participate?

Osteoporosis can strike at any age and affect both women and men. 1 on 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.

The current approach to preventing osteoporosis fractures is a “one size fits all” approach. Drug therapies given to patients come in one standard dose, regardless of sex, age, race, and drug metabolism.

We aim to change this by understanding how people respond to medications based on medical history and genetics. With the results of this study, we can identify the best treatment with minimal side effects for each person.

Personalizing osteoporosis treatment is the next step in bone health!

Funding for this study is granted by the Canadian Institute for Health Research

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Angela M. Cheung MD, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal & Postmenopausal Health

University Health Network (UHN)
Toronto General Hospital
North Building, 7th Floor, Room 7N-700
585 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 2N2

For more information, or to participate, please contact your closest participating centre in Ontario (with more opening soon):

Toronto, ON
Dr. Angela M. Cheung MD, PhD
University Health Network
Toronto General Hospital
585 University Avenue
North Building, 7th Floor, Room 7N-700

Contact: Sam Melk Phone: 416-340-4800 x5703  
Email: osteoporosis@uhn.ca

Cantonese/Mandarin Information:
Contact: Eva Yee 余憶眉
Phone: 416-340-4800 x8049 
Email: eva.yee@uhn.ca

Hamilton, ON
Dr. JD Adachi, MD
501 – 25 Charlton Ave., E.

Contact: Shannon Reitsma
Phone: 905-529-0612

Oakville, ON
Dr. Aliya Khan MD, FRCPC, FACP, FACE
Bone Research & Education Centre
223-3075 Hospital Gate

Contact: Namrah Siraj
Phone: 905-844-5677
Email: namrah@boneresearch.ca

The PEN-AFF Study

This study will explore better ways to measure the chance of broken bones (fractures). For more information please read more.

You can participate if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Do not have diabetes
  • Do not have kidney disease
  • Do not have an inflammatory disease
  • Taken 3 or more years of osteoporosis medications

Contact: Dr. Evelyn Wong 416-340-4840
Email: evelyn.wong@uhn.ca

Exercise study for men with prostate cancer

This study tests the effectiveness of 2 types of exercise program delivery methods for prostate cancer patients who are taking androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). By doing this research, we hope to better understand the benefits that different programs offer to patients and to find out which program types are most effective and practical. Ultimately, this research will assist in developing and delivering patient programs that focus on managing the side-effect of androgen deprivation therapy. This study is currently recruiting study participants. For more information please visit Canadian Cancer Trials.

Study coordinators:
Henriette Breunishbreunis@uhnresearch.ca
Sara Durbano| sara.durbano@uhn.ca

The Ankle Fractures and Bone-Muscle Quality Study

This 250-participant study will examine how various functional, imaging and questionnaire-type tools quantifying leg muscle, bone quality and physical function will help with future ankle fracture risk assessment and prevention.

You can participate if you:

  • Are a woman or man 50 years or older
  • Have never fractured an ankle
  • Do not have any implants at the ankle
  • Have no muscle or Achilles tendon disorders

Ankle Fracture Study Hotline: (416) 340-4800 ext 6276


Your privacy is important to us. Please know that your name will appear in your comment. If you wish to not have your information shared publicly, please email us at osteoporosis@uhn.ca. Please note, the security of e-mail messages is not guaranteed. We suggest you do not provide any personal or sensitive information in your e-mail. 

4 thoughts on “Our Research

  1. I am trying to find the research outcomes regarding the use of TNT (Nitro Glycerine) carried out by Toronto University in 2014/15 and undertaken by Dr Jamal. Do you have any pointers on this please at your Osteoporosis clinic? I received an email from their research assistant in Jan 2015 but the findings were never received.

    ‘We looked at 5 different formulations of Nitroglycerin (the ointment used in the previous study, a nitroglycerin patch, a pill-ISMO, and 2 different doses of sublingual tablets – 0.3 and 0.6). We want to see the effect of those formulations on bone formation and resorption, and also see the headaches and patient preference for a certain formulation. The formulation that has the best effect on the bone (and hopefully comes with less headaches and is mostly preferred by the patents) will be used in a larger study to prove that Nitroglycerin in preventing fractures in patients diagnosed with osteoporosis (and hopefully osteopenia). If you are interested, I will send you the results of the study as soon as they become available (end of December 2014 or beginning of January 2015).

    1. Hello Ahmad and thanks for your interest in our studies. We do have a study where we are following men who are about to start Forteo (teriparatide). This is a 4 year study, 2 years while participants are taking Forteo and 2 years of post-therapy observation. We do not supply any study drug, but just see participants every 6 months for extra tests, extra doctor visits, etc.

      If you are about to start Forteo and would like to join our study, you can contact our research associate Judy at 416-340-4841

Leave a Reply to Judy Scher Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.