Inflammation, cancer and stem cells in autoimmune diseases

Three of the principal theories of aging articulated in my are treatise ANTI-AGING FIREWALLS – THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF LONGEVITY are Chronic or Excess Inflammation, Susceptibilities to Cancers, and Decline In Adult Stem Cell Differentiation. Recent research suggests an underlying mechanism that links inflammation, cancer and the role of adult stem cells, at least in the case of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and Sjögren’s syndrome.   For some time, it has been noted that these inflammation-promoting autoimmune diseases are associated with elevated probabilities for incidences of cancer, lung cancer in the case of rheumatoid arthritis and lymphoma in the case of lupus for example(ref)(ref)(ref).  However, the reason for this association remained unclear.  Recent research suggests that what might be happening is a) adult stem cells are attracted to the sites of inflammation associated with the disease, basically on a repair mission b) in the abnormal signaling environment of the inflammation  sites, other things are going on possibly leading some of these stem cells to mutate and become cancerous.  “Recent studies have underscored a striking connection between tissue injury, repair and malignancy that may be of significant importance to the pathogenesis of systemic rheumatic diseases.  At the center of this connection lies the stem cell, the effector of tissue repair and regeneration that can arise from the tissue itself or be recruited from immigrant precursors(ref).”

For example, it is well known that lupus can lead to lung inflammation associated with interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (ref).  Tissue damage ensues which recruits stem cells to the sites of injury, endothelial progenitor cells being among them(ref).  However, the inflammation may also promote the recruitment of circulating tumor cells to the same sites(ref).  What exactly can happens next is unclear, but one theory gaining traction is that the environment is mutantogenic for the stem cells.  The title of one research publication telegraphs the message:

Stem Cells in Inflammatory Disease: Chronic Inflammation and Tissue Damage Recruits Stem Cells, Which Accumulate Mutations and May Become Transformed.

“A recent study by Houghton and colleagues using a mouse model demonstrates a very striking connection between chronic inflammation, hematopoietic stem-cell recruitment and mutation, and cancer formation in the inflamed target tissue. These authors showed that chronic Helicobacter pylori infection stimulates the recruitment of bone marrow derived stem cells (BMDC) into the gastric mucosa, which engraft permanently into the tissue stem-cell niche, assuming functions of the former. In the inflammatory microenvironment generated by H. pylori, the engrafted BMDCs accumulate mutations, and appear to be the cells that give rise to the gastric tumors arising in these animals(ref).”  Another publication reports “Data from emerging studies provide a growing body of evidence that stem cells play critical roles at the injury-repair interface. While performing the function of regeneration so critical for life, they may also be inadvertent partners in pathology, through their ability to self-renew and express various autoantigens also expressed in tumors.”

There is much current research activity in the associated fields of autoimmune diseases, stem cell activities, oncogenesis and inflammation.  So, I expect there will be further clarification of the phenomena described here as time progresses.  Meanwhile, a general message for both healthy people and ones with autoimmune diseases appears to be “keep the inflammation down as much as possible.”  For someone in the midst of a roaring lupus flare, this could require a medical intervention such as prescribing a strong corticosteroid like prednisone.  For healthy people, there is my suggested anti-aging Firewall against Chronic or Excess Inflammation.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at and an extensive site of my art at Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to
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9 Responses to Inflammation, cancer and stem cells in autoimmune diseases

  1. Res says:

    Hi Vince,

    A anti-aging recipe.

    3 peeled potatoes
    1 teaspoon of ground turmeric (you can get in Indian stores)
    1 teaspoon of crushed/ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon of oilve oil or canola oil
    1/2 teaspoon of salt or for taste

    Put the oil in a pan or wok and heat the oil medium.
    Put turmeric, pepper and salt

    THen put the cubed potatoes and fry them a little.
    Then cover and heat in medium till tender

    Very delicious indian potatoes ready.

    You can eat this with Indian bread called nan or rolled in Indian tortillas called chapatis and eat.

    Or just eat them with the food.


    A little off topic and a delicious stuff. (little to take mind off the hard scientific verbiage)

  2. admin says:

    It is 6PM and I am about to go treadmill but I must say your recipe is making me hungry. I am forwarding it to my wife, to a friend who is an excellent cook and to my son who just returned from India and will try it myself soon. Turmeric, black pepper, olive oil are all definitely in the good-for-you category. Have you thought of adding walnuts?

    The scientific verbiage sometimes throws me off too. Have you read my post pn P38, P39 and P40 channel receptor functions? This month at It is a spoof.

  3. Res says:

    Yes Vince, I read that spoof.. Good one too.

  4. admin says:

    I loved writing the spoof too. I would love to get it published in one of the main online genomics journals but refuse to pay page charges for it.

  5. admin says:


    I love the idea of curcumin chocolates. Hey guys, Deadmeat and Res, it would be great to pull together a cookbook of ultra-good-and-good-for-you anti-aging gourmet dishes like the two you suggested. If we can come up with a few additional recipies, I will post a kickoff regular entry on this blog on the topic. Could be built up as an everybody-contributes online entity and later published on dead tree pulp.

  6. Res says:

    Nice idea Vince

    I will pull together some indian based recipies and modify them to anti aging protocols..


  7. admin says:

    Super. I will create a new website for them. Looks like we have something new here. Have you looked into ashwagandha? I don’t know if it is a spice.

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