Usenet 2015-12-08 17:38:07
Bone protein effective alternative to dialysis: Study
Saturday, June 28, 2003
Washington – A protein used to heal fractured bones is
effective in repairing and reversing chronic renal
disease, a new study led by investigators at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Centre has shown.
The findings, published in the latest issue of Nature
Medicine, could help lead to the development of a
therapeutic alternative for the nearly 300,000 kidney
disease patients who are currently undergoing dialysis.
“Dialysis is not really a treatment, it’s just a means of
survival until an opportunity for a transplant opens up”,
said the study’s senior author Raghu Kalluri, director
of the Center for Matrix Biology at BIDMC and Associate
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“This is a very tedious way of living life”, he noted,
explaining that the process of mechanically filtering
blood through a machine to remove waste products must be
performed several times a week for a period of three to
four hours per visit, posing risks of infection and other
side effects. Furthermore, the procedure is extremely
This new study looked at the role of a molecule called
bone morphogenic protein (BMP)- 7 which, in its
recombinant form, has been approved by the US Food and
Drug Administration for the treatment of bone fractures.
Earlier studies had revealed that BMP-7 is highly
expressed in the kidneys of healthy individuals.
The investigators used mouse models of chronic renal
injury, characterized by the presence of scar tissue
known as renal fibrosis; once kidney disease was well-
established in the animals, they administered human
“We found that in the kidneys, BMP-7 reverses a process
known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which
generates scar-causing cells known as fibroblasts”,
stated Kalluri, explaining that BMP-7 first reduces the
number of the fibroblast cells and then replaces the
damaged areas of the kidney tubules with healthy
“In effect”, he added, “BMP-7 is decreasing the bad cells
(in this context, fibroblasts) and converting them into
good cells (in this context, epithelial cells)”.
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