The physiologically active form of vitamin D, 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, plays an important role not only in the establishment and maintenance of calcium metabolism, but also in regulating cell growth and differentiation. As the clinical usefulness of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is limited by its tendency to cause hypercalcemia, new analogs with a better therapeutic profile have been synthesized. One of these new synthetic vitamin D analogs is EB 1089, which is characterized by an altered side chain structure featuring 26,27-dimethyl groups and two double bonds. This analog has been shown to be more potent than 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in inhibiting proliferation, stimulating differentiation, and inducing apoptosis in a number of different cell types, including cancer cells. Despite being more potent than 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 with respect to its cell regulatory effects, EB 1089 displays weaker calcemic side-effects. These characteristics make EB 1089 a potentially useful compound for the treatment of a diversity of clinical disorders, including cancer and metabolic bone diseases. A promising phase I study with EB 1089 in patients with advanced breast and colon cancer has already been carried out, and more clinical trials evaluating the clinical effectiveness of EB 1089 in other types of cancer are in progress.