Nav: Home

UBC researchers find key to reducing inflammation

August 16, 2000

A protein that reduces inflammation has been discovered by a group of UBC researchers. The finding, to be reported Friday in the journal Science, may pave the way for new treatments of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, gingivitis, and lung disease.

The Canadian research team led by Prof. Chris Overall at UBC's Faculty of Dentistry, discovered how one of the natural signals -- MCP-3 -- the human body uses to turn off inflammation while studying how cancer cells spread.

"MCP-3 is like a traffic signal with a green and red light that tells the macrophages -- white blood cells that rid the body of damaged tissue -- when and where to go," said Overall.

"Like any accident, it is important to get help, but when everything is fixed, the body then needs to be told to stop sending more 'ambulances' to the problem spot, or else things clog up and break down again."

Overall explains that in chronic diseases like gingivitis or arthritis something goes wrong with the signals and the flow of white blood cells continues, leading to chronic inflammation and long-term tissue damage.

Angus McQuibban, a UBC biochemistry doctoral student working in Overall's lab, discovered a new form of MCP-3 that halts the flow of the white blood cells. He found that an enzyme called gelatinase made during inflammation trimmed the end of MCP-3 molecules and led to the new form of the protein.

McQuibban likens it to shooting out the green light on a traffic signal. "There is now no more signal. But we had a bigger surprise to find that not only was the 'green light' removed, but that the 'red light' then came on. Now the movement of these cells was stopped."

Tests revealed that there was a 40 per cent reduction in inflammation when the new form of MCP-3 was administered. Prof. Ian Clark-Lewis at UBC's Biomedical Research Centre synthesized the new form of MCP-3 for testing by Prof. Chris McCullouch at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Dentistry.

"What we are trying to do now is to work out how these signals go wrong in diseases like cancer, arthritis and periodontitis with the hope we can understand in molecular detail these very complicated processes that may lead to new drug discoveries," said Overall.

In the meantime, the new form of MCP-3 has been patented at UBC and is being evaluated as a new anti-inflammatory drug.
-end-
The team's research is being funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society.

University of Toronto

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...