[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 11-Mar-2010
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Contact: Ather Mirza
pressoffice@le.ac.uk
01-162-523-335
University of Leicester

MRC scientists announce advance in understanding body's natural defenses

Research program at the University of Leicester has potential for therapies for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and types of cancer

Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists at the University of Leicester have made a new advance in understanding how the body fights certain types of cancer and other disease such as Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Their findings have been published in the journal Nature Immunology. http://www.nature.com/ni/index.html The work has been carried out by a team at the MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester.

Dr Melania Capasso, one of the authors of the study, described the findings as being 'very significant'.

"We showed that a newly discovered protein, HVCN1, regulates antibody production through modulation of intracellular oxidation. In the absence of HVCN1, the immune response is blunted. These findings are very novel and significantly contribute to our understanding of how the organism mounts an immune response.

"The findings are very significant for the immunology field and help elucidate the contribution of natural oxidants such as reactive oxygen species to B cell activation and represent the rationale for using HVCN1 as a target for therapies where activation of B cell needs to be diminished."

Dr Capasso said the findings could be useful for the treatment of some types of B cell lymphoma and the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Lupus (and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Note to newsdesk:

ABOUT THE MRC:

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century. www.mrc.ac.uk



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