Inflammation

  • Blood pressure medication paves the way for approaches to managing Barrett's syndrome

    Svein Olav Bratlie

    New ways of using mechanisms behind certain blood pressure medications may in the future spare some patient groups both discomfort and lifelong concern over cancer of the esophagus. This, in any case, is the goal of several studies of patients with Barrett's syndrome at Sahlgrenska Academy. “If we could filter out those who are not at greater risk, it would represent huge gains for both patients and health care providers,” says Svein Olav Bratlie, a researcher in gastro surgery and clinician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. It is estimated that between one and two percent of the Swedish population has Barrett's syndrome, a condition in which the membrane in the lower part of the esophagus becomes more like that of the intestine and more acid-resistant. Barrett's syndrome is preceded by the common reflux affliction that involves long-term leakage of stomach acid up into the esophagus.

  • Developing tailor-made nanoparticles to fight cancer

    It is only by separating the two phases - particle formation (nucleation) and particle growth - in the different regions of the water bath, that researchers are able to precisely determine the size of the particles. Copyright: Mady Elbahri

    Electronic devices, coatings or biomedical therapeutics – nanoparticles, smaller than a human hair, can have very different properties and thus broad application options. The respective function depends primarily on the size of the particles. An interdisciplinary research group, including members of the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science" and the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" at Kiel University (CAU), has developed a method to produce size-tailored particles of zinc peroxide. This allows targeted modification of their properties, such as the destruction of cancer cells.

  • Glycosaminoglycan-based hydrogels for a better treatment of chronic wounds

    Nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel.

    Researchers from Dresden and Leipzig have jointly developed and tested a set of hydrogel wound dressings based on glycosaminoglycans. The hydrogels allow for the reduction of inflammatory reactions in ways that promise new treatment modalities for patients suffering from chronic cutaneous wounds. Diabetes, a globally prevalent medical condition with more than 420 million affected patients, is often associated with chronic wounds whose treatment remains challenging.

  • Implants: Can Special Coatings Reduce Complications After Implant Surgery?

    Images of macrophages (red) in which the active substance (green) is distributed. On the left, the active substance heparin is shown, on the right hyaluronic acid. Hala Al Khoury / Uni Halle

    New coatings on implants could help make them more compatible. Researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method of applying anti-inflammatory substances to implants in order to inhibit undesirable inflammatory reactions in the body. Their study was recently published in the "International Journal of Molecular Sciences".

  • Is an agent used to treat psoriasis aimed at the wrong target?

    Common psoriasis, also called psoriasis vulgaris, is an inflammatory skin disease. Source Helmholtz Zentrum München

    The antibody ustekinumab is in use for treatment of psoriasis since 2009. It inhibits the underlying inflammation by neutralizing certain messengers of the immune system. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Zurich have now shown in ‘Nature Communications’ that one of these messengers could actually be helpful in battling the illness. Common psoriasis, also called psoriasis vulgaris, is an inflammatory skin disease that is characterized by severely scaling skin in areas ranging from small to palm-sized. The disease is estimated to affect between two and three percent of all Europeans.

  • Münster researchers make ongoing inflammation in the human brain visible

    Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence have visualized inflammation in the brain of mice (l.) and of MS patients (r.). To do so, they labelled specific enzymes (MMPs). Reprinted with permission from Gerwien and Hermann et al., Sci. Transl. Med. 8, 364ra152 (2016) 9 November 2016

    For the first time, Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence (CiM) at Münster University have been able to image ongoing inflammation in the brain of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. The ultimate aim in biomedical research is the transfer of results from experiments carried out in animals to patients. Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence (CiM) at the University of Münster have succeeded in doing so. For the first time, they have been able to image ongoing inflammation in the brain of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). This involved specialists from different disciplines working together in a unique way over several years, combining immunology, neurology and imaging technologies ranging from microscopy to whole-body imaging.

  • Nano particles as food additives: improving risk assessment

    Nanoparticles Reduce Inflammation after Injury. Photographer: Christine Pham, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine

    The anticaking agent E551 silicon dioxide, or silica, has been used widely in the food industry over the past 50 years, and was long thought to be quite safe. Now, however, researchers working on the National Research Programme “Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials” have discovered that these nanoparticles can affect the immune system of the digestive tract.

    It ensures that dry foods such as instant soup, instant coffee and spice powder retain good flow properties. “Synthetic amorphous silica”, the ultrafine powder which is obtained from quartz and bears the E number E551, has been used for around a century with no apparent cause for concern.

  • Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine

    Joakim Bergström Photo: Cecilia Hedström

    Deficiency in a certain protein in the gastrointestinal tract has been shown to lead to both inflammation and abdominal fat accumulation in mice. The discovery provides yet another piece of the puzzle of how humans are affected — or not — by the large quantities of intestinal bacteria we carry with us. In the study from Sahlgrenska Academy, researchers have addressed the key role of the bacteria-binding protein ZG16 in protecting the body from intestinal bacteria. “The hope is that eventually, we’ll be able to administer this protein to improve protection against bacteria in patients with a defective barrier,” says Joakim Bergström, postdoctoral researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy. Joakim Bergström is in Professor Gunnar C. Hansson’s research group, which, eight years ago, was first to discover that there is a protective mucus layer in the intestine that separates intestinal bacteria from the intestinal surface.

  • No sugar coating, but sweet nonetheless

    In the upper part of the image you can see an enlarged picture of the microprobe manufactured in Freiburg for stimulating and simultaneously gathering data. Below there is a cross section oft he coating made from the polymer PEDOT that has stored an anti-inflammatory medicine that can be released by applying negative voltage.  Source: Christian Böhler, Maria Asplund

    First long-term stabile brain implant developed based on an anti-inflammatory coating.

    Complex neurotechnological devices are required to directly select and influence brain waves inside the skull’s interior. Although it has become relatively easy to implement the devices, researchers are still faced with challenges when trying to keep them running properly in living organisms over time. But that could be changing now, thanks to a new method from Freiburg. A research team was able to create a microprobe that grows into the neural tissue without inflammation and with the help of a medicinal coating.

  • Rare blood disease improves the defence against germs

    Blood smear of a myeloproliferative neoplasia patient with a significant increase in the number of platelets (purple) as compared to the clearly larger red blood cells. Ed Uthman/CC BY 2.0

    Researchers of the HZI and of the University of Magdeburg find increased immune reaction associated with a rare bone marrow disease. Patients afflicted by myeloproliferative neoplasia – a group of chronic malignant bone marrow diseases – bear a mutation in their haematopoietic stem cells. The mutation leads to the bone marrow producing too many blood cells, which thickens the blood. This can lead to blood clots or clogged blood vessels, which may trigger, e.g., a stroke. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg recently discovered that certain cells of the immune system also bear this mutation in those patients that possess a particularly large number of altered stem cells. The impact of this scenario on the defence against pathogens was investigated in mice by the scientists. They published their results in Leukemia.

  • Testing the Efficacy of New Gene Therapies More Efficiently

    Due to a gene defect, phagocytes of patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease are unable to kill ingested bacteria and fungi. (Image: ©Dlumen / iStock)

    Using a new cellular model, innovative gene therapy approaches for the hereditary immunodeficiency Chronic Granulomatous Disease can be tested faster and cost-effectively in the lab for their efficacy. A team of researchers from the University of Zurich and the Children’s Hospital Zurich successfully achieved this using the ‘gene-scissor’ CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The aim is to treat severely affected patients in the near future using novel approaches. Chronic Granulomatous Disease is a hereditary disease of the immune system. Due to a gene defect, phagocytes of affected patients are unable to kill ingested bacteria and fungi; causing life-threatening infections and excessive inflammatory reactions that have severe adverse consequences.