October 1, 2022

Hope for cure for cleft palate

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have used genetic methods to successfully repair cleft lips in mice embryos. The research breakthrough may show the way to prevent or treat the conditions in humans.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have used genetic methods to successfully repair cleft lips in mice embryos. The research breakthrough may show the way to prevent or treat the conditions in humans.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, with treatment requiring multiple cycles of surgery, speech therapy and orthodontics. It is sometimes used to justify abortions.

To date, there have been very few pre-clinical methods that allow researchers to study the molecular causes of these malformations, especially with animal models.

In a report in a recent issue of the journal Developmental Cell, Licia Selleri and her co-authors report the first multigenic mouse model of cleft lip with or without cleft palate. The researchers uncovered how certain genes contribute to the development of these abnormalities. They also discovered that altering one type of molecule within the Wnt signaling pathway (that comprises a network of proteins best known for their roles in embryogenesis) is sufficient to correct the defects.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has corrected this defect in embryos, and we really show here that Wnt is a critical factor,” Dr. Selleri says. “This is a very provocative result because it opens a completely new avenue of strategies for tissue repair.” ~ Eurekalert, Nov 28

Michael Cook
birth defects