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Lupus Treatment Elucidated

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 4:01:00 PM

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania school of Dental Medicine have elucidated the mechanism behind mesenchymal stem cell transplants in lupus patients, who typically suffer greater risk of osteoporosis. Prior work with stem cells has led to improvements in their condition, but until the current study, the process by which gains were made have been poorly understood.

The paper shows that the transplanted stem cells have a key protein called Fas, improving the function of bone marrow stem cells due to an epigenetic effect, regulating how genes are expressed. This important scientific investigation is a noteworthy development in stem cell based therapies, both for lupus and many other diseases where stem cells have shown promise.

Because the researchers hypothesized the epigenetic mechanism of Fas, they analyzed patterns of DNA methylation acting on promoters of bone marrow stem cell genes. They discovered that mice with lupus had a significantly different genetic makeup compared to regular mice. As a result, lupus-mouse stem cells differentiated poorly, and had weaker bones. The malfunction of Fas protein was reversed by stem cell therapy.

“We found that a one-time injection of stem cells would ameliorate disease for far longer than we would expect,” said Songtao Shi, chair and professor of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, “You can imagine if you can reuse Fas you might also be able to reuse other cell components to target other diseases.”  To see if this process is common across different conditions, Shi and colleagues are now exploring the mechanisms by which stem cell therapies lead to benefits in other models of disease.

 The University of Pennsylvania’s research is an example of the potential for stem cell regenerative medical therapies to effectively treat seemingly intractable and incurable conditions. To learn more about stem cells and how to insure immediate access to emerging personalized regenerative treatments by banking your own valuable dental pulp stem cells, please visit or call 877-783-6728 (877- StemSave) today.


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Topics: osteoporosis, stemsaveblog, Stemcells, lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, immune system, mesenchymal stem cells, epigenetics


AAOMS - American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons


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