Mar 21, 2012Science and Technology
Cheek lining cells could fight harmful immune system responses

A team from the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University has used cheek lining tissue to create powerful new cells. These cells could prevent harmful immune responses, as they inhibit white blood cells (lymphocytes) that attack insulin-producing cells, which can cause diabetes or transplant organ rejection. The new research suggests that cheek cells have wide-ranging potential for therapies for diseases related to the immune system. Cheek cell tissue has even proven itself stronger than adult stem cells, which are commonly derived from bone marrow. “We have yet to recreate the effect outside the laboratory and any treatments will be many years away,” Lindsay Davies, a member of the Cardiff team, said. “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.” 

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