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Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70)

Studies in mice and in patient samples suggest a modified form of Hsp70 could help treat vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease characterized by loss of pigmentation. Hsp70 activates dendritic cells (DCs) and was previously shown to be required for the development of vitiligo. In a mouse model for vitiligo, vaccination with a DNA vector expressing a mutant form of Hsp70 that does not activate DCs prevented the development of vitiligo. In human skin samples, the mutant form of Hsp70 reduced T cell activation, whereas wild-type Hsp70 induced T cell activation. Next steps include a clinical trial to test the safety of mutant Hsp70 in patients with vitiligo.

SciBX 6(10); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.238
Published online March 14, 2013

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Mosenson, J.A. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online Feb. 27, 2013;
Contact: I. Caroline Le Poole, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Ill.
Contact: Jose A. Guevara-Patino,
same affiliation as above