Navigation Links
FSU researcher's discovery leads to $1.5 million grant, potential new treatment of liver fibrosis
Date:10/17/2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The discovery of a protein involved in the life-threatening mechanism of liver fibrosis has helped a researcher at the Florida State University College of Medicine attract a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Branko Stefanovic, associate professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the College of Medicine, hopes his discovery could lead to treatment methods that may stem the process of liver fibrosis. Cirrhosis, the terminal phase of the disease, kills 26,000 Americans each year -- the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

Liver fibrosis refers to the accumulation of excess scar tissue in the liver through excess deposits of collagen, a fibrous protein found in skin, bone, and other connective tissues. The formation of scar tissue is a normal bodily response to injury, but in fibrosis the scarring begins to accumulate to unacceptable levels. The process can result from one of multiple causes, the most frequent of which are alcohol abuse and hepatitis C infection.

Fibrosis is difficult to detect until collagen deposits reach a point where the scarring has severely impaired organ function, meaning individuals suffering from the disease typically do not receive any treatment until it's too late.

"The capacity of liver cells to regenerate is great, so therefore normally the primary diseases that can lead to fibrosis do not kill the patient," Stefanovic said. "What kills the patient is secondary scarring and the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue. Once this happens a liver cannot regenerate anymore."

Stefanovic and his research team made the important discovery of a protein involved in the scar formation process while working on a previous NIH grant. The RNA-binding protein, which Stefanovic has successfully cloned in his lab at the College of Medicine, is found at the place and specific time when the body is making collagen as part of the normal wound healing resulting from the body's efforts to repair injured tissue.

"We had evidence of its existence, but we didn't have the protein," Stefanovic said. "We had been looking for this particular protein for several years until we used some very sophisticated methods of cloning. When I saw the results of the binding of the protein to our target I knew immediately we had found the right one.''

Stefanovic said he doesn't believe there will ever be a cure for liver fibrosis but that research and development will one day lead physicians to be able to slow down the progress of the disease.

"At least if we slow down the chronic process, instead of dying in five years the patient will live 15 years or more,'' he said.

"The goal is to suppress excessive collagen synthesis. In order to do that we have to know the molecular mechanisms that regulate manufacture of the protein and then see what has gone wrong when the liver is creating excess collagen.

"Then we will be able to find specific points in this process where we can intervene, by designing either a drug of some kind or a therapeutic agent that will allow us to block these key points and slow down the scarring. Cloning of this protein is a major step toward this goal."


'/>"/>

Contact: Doug Carlson
doug.carlson@med.fsu.edu
850-645-1255
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify promising gene target for neuroblastoma therapy
2. Researchers continue to find genes for type 1 diabetes
3. Researchers uncover worlds oldest fossil impression of a flying insect
4. Researchers discover baldness gene: 1 in 7 men at risk
5. Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
6. Circadian clock may be critical for remembering what you learn, Stanford researchers say
7. Burnham researchers turn cancer friend into cancer foe
8. Researchers document worlds mammals in crisis
9. Oklahoma researchers support biodiversity in biofuels production
10. UCR researchers propose minocycline as a promising drug for patients with Fragile X syndrome
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/16/2016)... June 16, 2016 The ... expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, ... Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in ... expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems ... seamlessly log work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377486LOGO ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. ... a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented ... branch project. This collaboration will result in greater ... the credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160606/375871LOGO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Mass. , June 23, 2016   ... development of novel compounds designed to target cancer ... napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from ... the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction ... stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. ... microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: