Researcher finds way to convert blood cells into autoimmune disease treatment., Cells from one’s own blood could be converted into a treatment for autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, based on the discovery of a Purdue University researcher.
Chang Kim, a professor of comparative pathobiology, has created a way to direct the differentiation of T-cells, a white blood cell that is a key player in the body’s immune system. The method uses naïve T-cells, immature cells from which all T-cells develop, and induces them to become suppressive T-cells that block the development of painful inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases.
Naïve T-cells can be gathered from a patient’s blood, treated and then re-injected, said Kim, who also is a university faculty scholar and member of Purdue’s Center for Cancer Research and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.
These cells are being directed to become a type of cell that is already present in our bodies, where a fine balance between inflammatory T-cells and suppressive T-cells is maintained,” he said. “We are just tipping the scales in favor of suppressive T-cells to reduce inflammation. Because of this there are none of the toxic side effects associated with many immune-suppressive drugs. In addition, cells from one’s own body aren’t rejected and remain in the body much longer. Instead of taking a pill every day, this could lead to a treatment administered, for example, every six months.
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