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Powerful new cells cloned: Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek

Date:
March 21, 2012
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Scientists have produced powerful new cells which can suppress the body's immune system. The cells are obtained by cloning tissue lining the human cheek, a less invasive process than obtaining adult stem cells from bone marrow. The breakthrough offers long term hope for dealing with immune system disorders.

Powerful new cells created by Cardiff scientists from cheek lining tissue could offer the answer to disorders of the immune system.
Credit: © pressmaster / Fotolia

Powerful new cells created by Cardiff scientists from cheek lining tissue could offer the answer to disorders of the immune system. While the body's immune system protects against many diseases, it can also be harmful. Using white blood cells (lymphocytes), the system can attack insulin-producing cells, causing diabetes, or cause the body to reject transplanted organs.

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A team from the School of Dentistry led by Professor Phil Stephens, with colleagues from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, have found a new group of cells with a powerful ability to suppress the immune system's action.

The team took oral lining cells from the insides of patients' cheeks and cloned them. Laboratory tests showed that even small doses of the cells could completely inhibit the lymphocytes.

The breakthrough suggests that the cheek cells have wide-ranging potential for future therapies for immune system-related diseases. Existing immune system research has focused on adult stem cells, particularly those derived from bone marrow. The cheek tissue cells are much stronger in their action.

Dr Lindsay Davies, a member of the Cardiff team, said: "At this stage, these are only laboratory results. We have yet to recreate the effect outside the laboratory and any treatments will be many years away. However, these cells are extremely powerful and offer promise for combating a number of diseases. They are also easy to collect -- bone marrow stem cells require an invasive biopsy, whereas we just harvest a small biopsy from inside the mouth."

The findings have just been published online in Stem Cells and Development. The team has now been funded by the Medical Research Council to investigate the cloned cells further.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lindsay C. Davies, Helena Lönnies, Matthew Locke, Berit Sundberg, Kerstin Rosendahl, Cecilia Götherström, Katarina Le Blanc, Phil Stephens. Oral Mucosal Progenitor Cells Are Potently Immunosuppressive in a Dose-Independent Manner. Stem Cells and Development, 2012; 120207091647004 DOI: 10.1089/scd.2011.0434

Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Powerful new cells cloned: Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321105340.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2012, March 21). Powerful new cells cloned: Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321105340.htm
Cardiff University. "Powerful new cells cloned: Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321105340.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

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