Scarborough, Maine -- (NEWS CENTER)

Bone marrow is the source of all of our cells in our body. Discovering how certain ones behave is focus a ground breaking study underway in Maine. The Maine Medical Center Research Institute was recently awarded a little more than 8 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to look at the link between osteoporosis and obesity in the bone marrow.

Dr. Cliff Rosen is the Director of Clinical and Translational Research at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

For nearly five years the scientist has studied fat cells in the marrow of lab animals and in women. What he and other researchers found that obese woman and women who suffer from anorexia -- both have similar amounts of fat cells in their marrow. Also both groups of women suffer from bone fractures.

Dr. Cliff Rosen, MMCRI DIr. Clinical Research, That fit well with our idea that it was contributing to bone loss these women have a tremendous problem with fractures.

The work along with his colleagues at Yale, Harvard and University of Michigan led to a renewal grant of more than 8 million dollars from the NIH. Dr. Rosen will lead the team -- looking at the possible link between osteoporosis and obesity in the bone marrow for the very first time.

'Really trying to understand these fat cells, what do they represent because we seem them both in calorie restriction and a high fat diet or with obesity and with diabetes, so they are there for a particular reason,'

The hope is finding out the way fat cells behave in bone marrow cells will lead to alternative treatments for osteoporosis and obesity. Patricia Leighton has suffered from osteoporosis -- a condition that came on after she successfully battled breast cancer. She says the research is encouraging. The medications out there but every one of them seems to have some sort of side effect a new one that doesn't you can pin your hopes on is great, said Leighton. .One thing is key -- determining how fat cells behave could lead to a potential break through in treatment options.