Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Medical Research Findings Hold Promise for Treating Heart Disease, Brain Diseases and Cancer

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Medical Research Findings Hold Promise for Treating Heart Disease, Brain Diseases and Cancer

Article excerpt

Studying tiny roundworms, researchers at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the University of British Columbia and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have discovered a protein may play a key role in the cell and tissue death process known as necrosis.

The process, long thought to be chaotic and irreversible, is associated with illnesses ranging from heart disease and stroke to Alzheimer's.

The new findings, published in the scientific journal Cell, show that necrosis might, in fact, be controlled by a protein known as SRP-6. If researchers can harness SRP-6, the protein could hold the key to halting cell death in neurological illnesses like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's and also to new treatment paths for cancer, heart disease and various bacterial illnesses.

In the current study, OMRF's Robert Barstead and Gary Moulder generated genetically modified "knock-out" worms that lacked the SRP- 6 protein. When a collaborator at the University of Pittsburgh was collecting specimens of the worms - by chance using water instead of the more commonly used saline - he noticed that the genetically modified worms were dying in droves, while their normal counterparts remained healthy. …

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