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Targeting inflammation to prevent, treat cancers
Date:8/22/2012

Augusta, GAResearchers at the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Center have identified a gene that disrupts the inflammatory process implicated in liver cancer.

Laboratory mice bred without the gene lacked a pro-inflammatory protein called TREM-1 and protected them from developing liver cancer after exposure to carcinogens.

The study, published in Cancer Research, a journal for the American Association for Cancer Research, could lead to drug therapies to target TREM-1, said Dr. Anatolij Horuzsko, an immunologist at the GHSU Cancer Center and principal investigator on the study.

"We have long suspected that chronic inflammation is a very powerful tool in the initiation of cancer, and also in the progression or metastasis of cancer," said Horuzsko. "We [looked] at the molecules that control inflammatory responses to gain a better understanding of how this process works. One important triggering receptor for inflammation is TREM-1."

TREM-1's role in promoting inflammation is useful in cases such as battling viral or bacterial infections and in maintaining normal tissue function. But as Horuzsko's team discovered, in abnormal conditionssuch as liver damage due to alcohol abuse or other irritantsproduction of TREM-1 goes haywire. A chronic, low-level state of inflammation is produced as TREM-1 leads to the development of other inflammatory agents, which causes more damage, increases cell production and creates mutated cells. These mutated cells then reproduceplanting the seeds that can lead to cancer.

During the 14-month study, Horuzsko and his team used mouse studies to gather data on the effect of TREM-1 in the liver cells and identify potential sources for therapies. Because a mouse's life span is about three years, the length of the study mimicked a similar 20- to 30-year cancer progression of liver cancer in humans.

Two sets of miceone with the TREM-1 gene removedwere exposed to the ca
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Contact: Christen Carter
chrcarter@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-5733
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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