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TNF protein to treat rheumatoid arthritis

A new study has found that a powerful pro-inflammatory protein, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), can also suppress aspects of inflammation. Rheumatologists at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York said the identification of the mechanism of how this occurs could potentially lead to new treatments for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“Prior to this study, TNF has long been known as a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine, but if you look carefully through the literature, there are hints that it also has some suppressive functions, but nothing was known about the mechanisms,” said Lionel Ivashkiv, lead author of the study.  To come to the conclusion, researchers designed experiments stimulating macrophages with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a prototypical inflammatory factor that stimulates receptors important in inflammation.

In test tube studies, the researchers treated human monocytes and macrophages, cells that have a key role in inflammatory diseases, with TNF and then challenged these cells with LPS. They found that the TNF suppressed the inflammatory response of the macrophages and monocytes.
 
Ulcer bacteria may trigger Parkinson’s disease

A Louisiana State University scientist has found that the stomach bacteria H. pylori that causes ulcers could also play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. “Infection of late middle-aged mice with a particular strain of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori results in development of Parkinson’s disease symptoms after 3-5 months,” said Traci Testerman of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport.

“Our findings suggest that H. pylori infection could play a significant role in the development of Parkinson’s disease in humans,” he said. Testerman and her colleagues developed an animal model to more effectively understand the role of H. pylori and its modified cholesterol in Parkinson’s disease.

Too much processed meat intake can lead to cancer

Cancer experts in UK have warned that eating too much of red and processed meat can lead to the development of the disease. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is advising people to limit their intake of red meats such as beef, pork and lamb, and to avoid processed meat such as ham and salami altogether. The charity, which had kick-started a global debate in 2007 after it published a study which identified meat as a risk factor for a number of cancer, presented “convincing evidence” that both types of meat increased the risk of bowel cancer.

WCRF-funded scientists at Imperial College London led by Dr Teresa Norat studied 263 research papers that have come out since then looking at the role of diet, weight and physical activity in bowel cancer.

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