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Scientists pinpoint inflammation gene

A team of international researchers has discovered that a specific gene on chromosome 15 regulates inflammation, a finding with implications for a wide range of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, and infections. The findings are published in the October 9 online issue of Nature Genetics.

Investigators believe this discovery will be of great interest to biomedical and pharmaceutical researchers because of an already heightened understanding of the role of inflammation in so many human disorders.

"Practically every common disease involves an inflammation component," said John Blangero, Ph.D., a scientist at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) in San Antonio and the paper's senior author. "So the discovery of a new player in the inflammation pathway opens up many potential avenues for intervention on a broad range of health issues."

Along with Blangero, lead researchers in identifying the SEPS1 (Selenoprotein S) gene's influence on inflammation were Joanne Curran, Ph.D., and Ahmed H. Kissebah, M.D. Curran, who also is a geneticist at SFBR, was formerly with ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CXSP; ASX: CXS), an Australian-based company that initially identified the gene through animal studies and funded this latest analysis of its role in humans. Kissebah is professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and medical director of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), an international weight-loss organization whose members provided genetic material for analysis. Dr. Kissebah practices at Froedtert Hospital, a major teaching affiliate of the Medical College. Other scientists from SFBR, ChemGenex, Deakin University (Geelong, Australia) and the International Diabetes Institute (Melbourne, Australia) also contributed to the work.

Their research study identified SEPS1 as a type of "garbage truck" that helps clear cells of misfolded proteins tha
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Contact: Toranj A. Marphetia
toranj@mcw.edu
414-456-4700
Medical College of Wisconsin
9-Oct-2005


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