New York: An Indian-origin doctor has discovered the key role a protein related to the immune system plays in healing, paving the path for manipulating the immune system to speed up the healing process.
The findings could also lead to novel treatment for infectious and autoimmune diseases.
The current study results revolve around proteinases which are enzymes that break down proteins as part of cellular life.
The team found that Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) 2 has another signalling role related to the human immune system.
"Our results show that MMP-2 uses a multitude of mechanisms to modulate the immune system," said lead investigator Nina Bhardwaj, director of immunotherapy at Tisch Cancer Center at Mount Sinai.
MMP-2 may shift a set of cells to become part of immune response that accelerates healing in some cases, but may worsen inflammatory disease in others.
Drug designers may be able to leverage the newfound MMP-2 mechanisms to prevent the contribution of inflammatory signals to tumour growth and autoimmune diseases, or to promote wound healing, the researchers noted.
"These data provides context to how this mechanism happens and could lead to novel treatments," Bhardwaj added.
The study appeared in the journal Cell Reports.