Autoimmune Diseases and the Promise of Stem Cell-Based Therapies
One of the more perplexing questions in biomedical research is—why does the body’s protective shield against infections, the immune system, attack its own vital cells, organs, and tissues? The answer to this question is central to understanding an array of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Sjogren’s syndrome. When some of the body’s cellular proteins are recognized as “foreign” by immune cells called T lymphocytes, a destructive cascade of inflammation is set in place. Current therapies to combat these cases of cellular mistaken identity dampen the body’s immune response and leave patients vulnerable to life-threatening infections. Research on stem cells is now providing new approaches to strategically remove the misguided immune cells and restore normal immune cells to the body. Presented here are some of the basic research investigations that are being guided by adult and embryonic stem cell discoveries.
(Hat tip to magda92122 for sharing this link!)
Rob Moore has generously offered to field any questions on this topic at the new Stem Cell-Based Therapies Info Sheet in the RA Information Library.
Rob is 40 years old, and has had RA for 16 years. His joint replacements include: bilateral knee replacements, right wrist replacement and left elbow replacement. Rob also has rheumatoid vasculitis, and has be on disability since January 2009 (he previously worked with computers). He is a father of three, and has been married for 15 years. Rob has tried every medicine there is, and underwent a stem cell transplant in 2007 at Northwestern Hospital.
Thank you for your support, Rob! I look forward to learning more about this topic.