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Researchers clone anti-inflammatory protein.



Researchers clone anti-inflammatory protein

Scientists say they have identified and cloned a protein that blocks the biochemical cascade A biochemical cascade is a series of chemical reactions in which the products of one reaction are consumed in the next reaction. There are several important biochemical cascade reactions in biochemistry, including the enzymatic cascades, such as the coagulation cascade and the  causing inflammation and other complications of injury or infection. The feat culminates a six-year race among research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies to characterize and mass-produce the naturally occurring inhibitor, which many believe has great potential as an anti-inflammatory drug.

The protein binds strongly and specifically to cell-surface receptors that normally serve as docking sites for interleukin-1 (IL-1), a potent compound secreted by white blood cells White blood cells
A group of several cell types that occur in the bloodstream and are essential for a properly functioning immune system.

Mentioned in: Abscess Incision & Drainage, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Complement Deficiencies
 under a variety of biological "emergencies." When IL-1 binds to its receptor, it triggers a series of reactions in surrounding cells, causing inflammation and immune hyperactivity hyperactivity, excessive physical activity of emotional or physiological origin, usually seen in young children; one of the components of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. . For example, IL-1 causes much of the swelling and cartilage damage seen in rheumatoid arthritis rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic, progressive autoimmune disease causing connective-tissue inflammation, mostly in synovial joints. It can occur at any age, is more common in women, and has an unpredictable course.
 and plays a key role in organ transplant organ transplant: see transplantation, medical.  rejection.

With 10 other colleagues, Charles H. Hannum, Stephen P. Eisenberg and Robert C. Thompson of Synergen, Inc. in Boulder, Colo., isolated the IL-1 receptor blocker from human white blood cells, which produce tiny quantities of the substance as a means of regulating IL-1's activity. In two papers appearing in the Jan. 25 NATURE, they describe their decoding de·code  
tr.v. de·cod·ed, de·cod·ing, de·codes
1. To convert from code into plain text.

2. To convert from a scrambled electronic signal into an interpretable one.

3.
 of the inhibitor's genetic sequence and the successful mass-production of the protein in bacteria. Preliminary studies indicate the protein blocks swelling and reduces cartilage degeneration in rats with injury-induced arthritis, without causing toxicity or clinically significant immune suppression, Thompson told SCIENCE NEWS. He says Synergen hopes to begin safety trials in humans later this year in conjunction with Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc., of Nutley, N.J.

Even if the protein proves disappointing as a drug, it should provide valuable clues to scientists designing synthetic anti-inflammatory agents, the researchers and others say. "Everybody's wanted to clone this baby," says Charles Dinarello of Tufts University Tufts University, main campus at Medford, Mass.; coeducational; chartered 1852 by Universalists as a college for men. It became a university in 1955. Jackson College, formerly a coordinate undergraduate college for women, merged with the College of Liberal Arts in  in Boston, who in 1984 took part in the first cloning of IL-1 itself. "There's a huge market for this stuff."
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Author:Weiss, R.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 27, 1990
Words:312
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