London: Scientists have identified a protein which controls inflammation, a key finding that they claim could play a critical role in the future treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases.
An international team, led by Imperial College London and funded by Cancer Research UK, has characterised the role of `Sharpin`, a protein that controls inflammation induced by `Tumour Necrosis Factor` -- a vital part of body`s defences against cancer, the `Nature` journal reported.
According to the scientists, the research may also shed light on the causes of certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Tumour Necrosis Factor or TNF plays a pivotal role in protecting the body against infection by bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. It does this by directing the immune system to spot rogue pathogens and then destroy them. If unregulated, it`s known to cause harm contributing to unwanted inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
In their research on laboratory mice, the scientists have discovered how Sharpin protein prevents TNF from inducing inflammation, providing new clues to how cancers may be able to "hijack" immune system.