22 November 2011
Hydrogen peroxide has a significant effect on how wounds are healed and also on tumours, according to new research.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that the colourless liquid usually associated with minor wounds is also a natural chemical in the body that affects the jobs of certain immune cells.
Published in the journal Nature, the study discovered molecular sensors that detect the chemical and begin producing other immune cells that could fight microorganisms, remove damaged tissue and then start the inflammation process affecting tumours.
Dr Anna Huttenlocher of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health explained that a tumour is a type of unhealed wound, which generates high levels of hydrogen peroxide.
She said: "Our findings suggest that in the future we might be able to manipulate the new pathway we've found to make immune cells go where we want them to."
There are more than 100 different types of brain tumour, depending on which cells within the brain are involved and some are easier to remove than others according to where they have grown in the brain.
Posted by Philip Briggs
Huttenlocher, Anna, "Lyn is a redox sensor that mediates leukocyte wound attraction in vivo", Nature, November 20th 2011.
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