Protein 'switch' could stop sepsis progression, prevent deaths

Researchers at University of British Columbia in Canada have discovered a protein "switch" that could stop sepsis progression and increase patients' chances of surviving the life-threatening condition, a study published in Immunity found.

The researchers looked at the role of a protein called ABCF1 in regulating sepsis progression.

Building on previous knowledge of ABCF1 as part of a family of proteins that plays a significant role in the immune system, the researchers analyzed ABCF1's role in white blood cells during inflammation in a mouse model of sepsis.

"Sepsis triggers an uncontrolled chain-reaction of inflammation in the body, leading to tissue damage, organ failure and death," said Hitesh Arora, co-lead study author. "We have discovered that the enzyme ABCF1 acts as a 'switch' at the molecular level that can stop this inflammatory chain-reaction and dampen the potential damage."

This finding may lead to new treatments for chronic and acute inflammatory diseases, as well as autoimmune diseases.

"Our study may lead to therapies that overcome inflammatory and autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," said senior author Wilfred Jefferies.

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