Australian scientists identify gene that helps treat cancer

02:13 PM | 2 Jul, 2018
Australian scientists identify gene that helps treat cancer
CANBERRA - The gene that strengthens the human immune system and plays a critical role in regulating the body's immune response to infection including cancer and diabetes has been identified by Australian scientists.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) identified the gene that has existed for 500 million years. Its identification could lead to the development of new treatments for a "variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis", said CSIRO researcher Cameron Stewart.

"Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease," Stewart said.

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The yet unnamed gene, currently referred to as C6 or f106, "regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiralling out of control", Xinhua news agency reported.

The C6 has existed for more than 500 million years, preserved and passed down from simple organisms all the way to humans. But only now are we gaining insights into its importance, the scientists said.