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Targeting Inflammation

January 24, 2013

A growing understanding of inflammation may lead to new therapies for many diseases.



Why inflammation is a hot target.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Inflammation causes cell damage in a wide range of diseases, from atherosclerosis to Alzheimer’s. But blocking it over a long period of time is dangerous, since it’s involved in healing and fighting infections. Columbia University biologist Ira Tabas co-authored a paper in the journal Science about the future of anti-inflammatory therapies.  He says one strategy is to tap into the body’s own anti-inflammatory process.

IRA TABAS (Columbia University):

So every time you have a normal inflammatory event, your body has a very sophisticated mechanism for turning it off, and for repairing your tissues.

Researchers have identified some of the molecules involved, which could potentially stop harmful inflammation without blocking it elsewhere. Other techniques include targeting anti-inflammatory drugs to precise locations, or finding new ways to keep the offending agent, from causing inflammation in the first place. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.