PHILADELPHIA - Researchers at the Perelman 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.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

Share This Page: