DTU researchers find a new way to fight inflammation

torsdag 29 aug 19
af Tom Nervil


John Atef Micheal Baky Rizk
DTU Sundhedsteknologi


Vasileios Bekiaris
Gruppeleder, Lektor
DTU Sundhedsteknologi
35 88 68 28

A new study, just published in Science Signaling, suggests that by preventing the body's cells from producing a particular protein, diseases like sclerosis, psoriasis and allergies could be affected.

These debilitating inflammatory diseases are caused by specific T cells that produce the protein interleukin-17 in the body.

The DTU researchers have found that a class of compounds called SMAC mimetic, currently in clinical trials as cancer therapy, can stop the production of the aforementioned protein IL-17 from Th17 cells.

“SMAC mimetics alter Th17 cells by altering which genes and proteins are turned on or off. This is because these compounds hijack one of the basic mechanisms that T cells use to perform immunological functions,” explains Vasileios Bekiaris, an associate professor at DTU Health Technology.

The researchers used transcriptional and proteomic analyses as well as flow cytometry

The effect detected on mice
The researchers have been given evidence of the principle behind the method, demonstrating that SMAC mimetics are capable of lowering the incidence of multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice. In addition, the same compounds enhanced the function of the T cells, often associated with allergies.

"While these are fairly early results, they suggest that compounds like the one in our study can be useful as anti-inflammatory agents by tipping the balance between allergy and inflammation, which is a critical point for a healthy immune system," Vasileios Bekiaris says.

The researchers’ hope is now that SMAC mimetics either alone or in combination with other treatments can be used in the future to treat inflammatory diseases.

“To get to that stage we will need to perform a lot more experiments on animal models and human cells in order to work out exactly how these compounds work in the context of an ongoing disease.” 

Read the entire publication in Science Signaling