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Published results

VIBE: Vibration Intervention for Bone Enhancement in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Why was this study done?

Childhood is a critical time to develop strong and healthy bones and muscles. But, childhood cancer treatment can affect bone health. Childhood cancer survivors often lose bone density, and low bone mineral density (BMD) may increase their risk of breaking bones in the future.

The main goal of this study was to learn how a small amount of vibration – low-magnitude, high-frequency (LMHF) mechanical stimulation – affects bone density.

The study’s other goals were to:

  • Learn how this therapy affects bone strength
  • Find out if the process affects blood tests that measure bone breakdown and rebuilding

When was this study done?

The study opened in June 2010 and closed in January 2013.

What did the study consist of?

  • The study included St. Jude childhood cancer survivors, ages 7 to 17 years, and who were at least five years from diagnosis.
  • Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group stood on a vibrating metal plate. A second group used a plate that did not vibrate.
  • Patients were told to place the plate in a convenient place at home. They could, for example, stand on it while watching TV. They used the plate in two 10-minute sessions every day for a year.
  • Patients also took vitamin D and calcium.
  • Each patient had dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans to measure bone density and muscle mass. Every survivor also had quantitative computed tomography (QCT densitometry) to measure spine BMD. The tests were done before the study began and at the end of the year.
  • Other tests and studies were done at the beginning of the study and every three months. Some of these were blood and urine tests; body measurements, including shinbone length; physical activity monitoring; a food questionnaire; and a weekly phone interview. Females of childbearing age also had a pregnancy test at the start and end of the study.

What did we learn from this study?

Survivors who stood on the vibrating plate gained total body BMD and increased bone formation. Those in the inactive plate group lost BMD. A marker of bone health was also higher in patients who stood on the plate (called circulating receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-B ligand).

LMHF mechanical stimulation is a safe therapy to maintain bone mass in childhood cancer survivors that can be used alone or with other therapies.

What are the next research steps as a result of this study?

We need to conduct more research to find out:

  • How this therapy preserves the bone health of childhood cancer survivors
  • If changes to the dose and length will boost BMD even further
  • If the total effects of the vibration intervention, medication and exercise together are better than the individual effects
  • Whether LMHF mechanical stimulation works better during therapy or after survivors’ bones have finished developing
  • If the BMD gains continue when the device is no longer used

How does this study affect my child?

Every survivor of childhood cancer should receive long-term follow-up care. Your child will receive information and guidance for care. Please speak with your St. Jude doctor about specific guidelines that apply to your child.

For more information

Please talk with your child’s St. Jude doctor about questions or concerns you have as a result of this study.

Publication generated from this study:

Effect of Low-Magnitude, High-Frequency Mechanical Stimulation on BMD Among Young Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Mogil RJ, Kaste SC, Ferry RJ Jr, Hudson MM, Mulrooney DA, Howell CR, Partin RE, Srivastava DK, Robison LL, Ness KK. JAMA Oncol. 2016 Jul 1;2(7):908-14.

The above information is intended to provide only a basic description about a research protocol that may be currently active at St. Jude. The details made available here may not be the most up-to-date information on protocols used by St. Jude. To receive full details about a protocol and its status and or use at St. Jude, a physician must contact St. Jude directly.


Full title:

Vibration Intervention for Bone Enhancement in Childhood Cancer Survivors (VIBE)

Study goal:

The main goal of this study was to learn how a small amount of vibration – low-magnitude, high-frequency (LMHF) mechanical stimulation – affects bone density. 

For physicians and researchers

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