Researchers at the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Center may have found a new target for drug therapies to reduce the risk of serious liver damage and cancer in people with hepatitis, with the discovery that a protein in a group of liver cells triggers inflammation that can damage the organ. According to a paper published in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research, mice bred without a gene that promotes the production of the protein TREM-1 in ther livers’ Kupffer cells remained free of cancer after being exposed to carcinogens, whereas mice with the gene and TREM-1 began showing signs of liver disease within 48 hours.  “We have long suspected that chronic inflammation is a very powerful tool in the initiation of cancer, and also in the progression or metastasis of cancer,” said lead author Anatolij Horuzsko, MD, PhD, in an accompanying news announcement. “TREM-1 could be a [therapeutic] target for any inflammation-associated cancer. We are already working in this direction.”

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To read the Georgia Health Sciences University news announcement, click here.