Plants could help treat hemophilia

5 September 2014

Hemophilia can be a dangerous condition as the smallest cut can cause a severe amount of bleeding, as the person's blood doesn't contain enough proteins to stop the flow.

Patients with severe hemophilia often receive regular injections of these proteins, called clotting factors, to control the disease. However, around a third of these people develop antibodies that attack these lifesaving proteins, making it difficult to prevent or treat the condition.

Researchers at the University of Florida Health (UF) and the University of Pennsylvania may have developed a solution. By using plant cells, the team were able to teach the immune system to not attack the proteins.

The study, published in the journal Blood, used plant-based capsules and has proved to be cost-effective and safe.

UF co-author Roland Herzog, a professor of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine and a member of the UF Genetics Institute, said: “This could potentially be a way to prevent antibodies from forming or lower the incidence of it."

However, the treatment will be continual as patients would need to carry on taking the plant capsules to maintain immune system tolerance. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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