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Transcript of an interview with Professor Henning Walczak from Imperial College London, to support the post Inflammation and cancer: Sharpin at the sharp end.

“What we found is a new protein that is responsible for inhibiting inflammation induced by TNF. TNF is Tumour Necrosis Factor – it was found around 40 years ago, based on its role in inducing the necrosis, or killing, of tumour cells directly.

The normal role of TNF in the body is actually to spot infected cells, and also cancer cells, and then kill them. But in cancer sometimes this is turned around. TNF induces inflammation and this TNF-induced inflammation can be used by the cancer to spread and form metastases. Then TNF-induced inflammation, instead of being good for you, becomes good for the cancer.

TNF-induced inflammation plays a role in exactly these diseases – in autoimmunity like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and also Crohn’s disease. But it has also been shown to play a role in cancer. So we think that our findings may provide new clues as to where we have to look for new drugs to treat these diseases.”