Stem Cell Breakthrough for Treating Arthritis
Economy, Sci & Tech

Stem Cell Breakthrough for Treating Arthritis

Using new gene-editing technology, US researchers have rewired mouse stem cells to fight inflammation caused by arthritis and other chronic conditions in a landmark experiment which could be used to help people suffering from the disease. Stem cells, known as SMART cells (Stem cells Modified for Autonomous Regenerative Therapy), develop into cartilage cells that produce a biologic anti-inflammatory drug that will replace arthritic cartilage and simultaneously protect joints and other tissues from damage that occurs with chronic inflammation, Eureka Alert reported on Friday. The new experiment was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. The researchers initially worked with skin cells taken from the tails of mice and converted those cells into stem cells. Then, using the gene-editing tool CRISPR in cells grown in culture, they removed a key gene in the inflammatory process and replaced it with a gene that releases a biologic drug that combats inflammation. The problem with current drugs is that they give systematic rather than targeted to joints. As a result, they interfere with the immune system throughout the body and can make patients susceptible to side effects such as infections.


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