Locamidazole was born out of a desire to improve bone frailty and prevent reduced locomotion in people who are unable to exercise. In search of the right treatment, the researchers developed their own method of monitoring muscle and bone cell health. They used this method to test 296 chemical compounds for their effects on the proliferation and differentiation of myocytes, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts. Eight total compounds were found to improve cell health and differentiation. Of these, one compound was capable of enhancing myoblast and osteoblast function, thus boosting muscle and bone tissue growth. This compound was given the name locamidazole, or LAMZ.
The team then tested the effects of LAMZ in mice by administering the drug orally. While the drug didn’t cause any evident side effects, it did successfully increase muscle fiber width, maximal muscle strength, and bone formation in treated mice. It also lowered the animals’ bone resorption activity. Better yet, LAMZ was found to mimic calcium and PGC-1α signaling pathways, which typically activate during physical exercise and help to maintain muscle and bone tissue. When administered orally and subcutaneously to mice with sarcopenia and osteoporosis (diseases resulting in muscle and bone tissue loss), the drug reduced locomotive frailty by improving and reinforcing cell health.
Despite its ability to mimic exercise in certain ways, LAMZ isn’t a weight loss drug. While many of us have found ourselves wishing at least once for a magic pill that could effectively eliminate the need for dieting and exercise, that’s still a bit reachy. In fact, the researchers explicitly write that “this treatment did not affect body weight.” But that was never the point. People with physical disabilities, cerebrovascular disease, dementia, and other conditions are often unable to participate in the level of physical activity necessary to maintain proper muscle and bone health, which is essential to preventing further locomotive restriction and disease. If a drug like LAMZ becomes commercially available, it could help preserve the physical health of those who are unable to use traditional methods (i.e. exercise) to keep their muscles and bones in tip-top shape.