PHILADELPHIA - Researchers at the School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School and School of Dental Medicine have found that the mutation that causes a rare genetic disorder of bone formation (fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP) can reset an internal program to change cell fate, driving it back into an adult stem-cell stage. Immediate application for these findings is the field of tissue engineering and personalized medicine. It is conceivable that a transplant patient may one day have some of their own endothelial cells extracted, reprogrammed, and then grown into the desired tissue type for implantation. Host rejection would not be an issue.
Penn Medicine researchers Frederick S. Kaplan, MD, Isaac & Rose Nassau Professor of Orthopaedic Molecular Medicine, and Eileen Shore, PhD, professor of Orthopaedics and Genetics, are co-authors on the Nature Medicine study. “While we want to use this knowledge to stop the renegade bone formation of FOP, these new findings provide the first glimpse of how to recruit and harness the process to build extra bone for those who desperately need it,” says Kaplan.
For more information on the study refer to the Harvard news release.
For more information on FOP, please contact Drs. Kaplan or Shore.
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