Person holding asthma inhaler to relieve asthma attack


Inflammation inhibitor discovered

What if you could block the release of inflammatory proteins and thereby cure or relieve diseases such as severe asthma and sepsis? A multidisciplinary team of researchers, co-led by SciLifeLab researcher Thomas Helleday, may be on the path to just that.

As presented in a paper recently published in Science, a research group led from Karolinska Institutet has developed an anti-inflammatory drug molecule with a new mechanism of action. By inhibiting a certain protein, the researchers have been able to reduce the signals that trigger an inflammation.

The study was led by SciLifeLab researcher Professor Thomas Helleday, Dr Torkild Visnes and Dr Armando Cázares-Körner. The main discovery was enabled by Thomas Helleday’s group’s research on how DNA is repaired by the body. With the aim of fighting cancer by targeting damage to the tumor cell’s DNA, the research has led to, among other things, a new treatment for congenital breast and ovarian cancer using PARP inhibitors.

When the researchers were developing a new molecule for inhibiting the enzyme that repairs oxygen damage to DNA, they discovered that it also dampened inflammation. As it turned out, the OGG1 enzyme that repaired the DNA also triggered inflammation.

The development of the inhibitor, which can block the release of inflammatory proteins, may be a key breakthrough in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

“This discovery could give rise to a new treatment for a very serious condition”, says Professor Thomas Helleday in a press release from Karolinska Institutet. “We’ll now be developing our OGG1 inhibitor and examining whether it can lead to new treatments for inflammatory diseases in order to cure or relieve diseases such as sepsis, COPD and severe asthma.”

The study was carried out in collaboration with Uppsala University, Stockholm University and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

More information: press release from Karolinska Institutet, scientific paper in Science.

Person holding asthma inhaler to relieve asthma attack
After discovering the inflammation inhibitor, the researchers will go on to examine whether the inhibitor could lead to treatments that can cure or relieve dieseases such as COPD and severe asthma.


Last updated: 2018-11-20

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