Sunday, February 5, 2012

Israelis make headway in cure for Crohn's

Weizmann Institute scientists manage to trick immune systems of mice into targeting one of body's players in autoimmune process 

In diseases such as Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's tissues.

But today, thanks to a group of Weizmann Institute scientists, the immune system is learning that “turnabout is fair play."

The Weizmann Institute of Science, located in Rehovot,Israel, is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions.

The scientists at the Weizmann have managed to trick the immune systems of mice into targeting one of the body's players in the autoimmune process, an enzyme known as MMP9.

Prof. Irit Sagi of the Biological Regulation Department, along with her research group, has spent years looking for ways to block members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzyme family.

But, when these proteins, which expedite wound-healing and offer other benefits, get out of control, they can actually help autoimmune disease and cancer metastasis. Blocking these proteins might lead to effective treatments for a number of diseases.


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