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New study finds gene that triggers immune response

hmm interesting.
i wonder what further research will come up with as far as what this gene, the BCL or whatever, looks like in crohnies or other autoimmune disease people. a mutation or lack of it would be interesting
Well if they could selectively turn it off then the immune response that causes problems for Crohnies, MS, RA etc would be null and void at least until they turned it back on I would suspect.
Not to be the bearer of bad news again with something like this, but in all likeliness this won't be the cure we're hoping for. If this truly is the top of the immune cascade, then turning it off would pretty much destroy your immune system and give you bubble boy syndrome. The alternative is that it is just part of the entire immune response and shutting it down might have no effect or might have the effect we're looking for. The BCL gene family is involved in a lot of important activities and certain BCL genes are oncogenic, so modulating the activity of this family isn't necessarily a good thing given their pro- and anti-apoptotic effects.

That little addon at the end is sort of a plug to tie the research to a medical necessity. Its something you have to do in science to make people continue funding your research and to make your research appear to have direction. On the other hand, the vaccine implications are incredible since you would only need to activate the protein (which is significantly harder to do than inactivate) shortly before or after the vaccine (probably would work at the same time, but might need to do it before to have the system primed). This would give a greater antibody response to the vaccine and possibly take vaccines that weren't effective enough, or say had to be given 3 times, and make them effective enough to treat with or be administered fewer times.

If anyone is interested in reading the actual science paper I can get it and email it to you. Email me at "saidinstouch AT hotmail DOT com" if you are interested in the article and put something like CROHNS FORUM SCIENCE ARTICLE in the title of the email so I see it.

As a side note here is link to a website with more information than you would want to process on this particular protein: BCL6 GeneCards


Edit: I'm not saying this won't have benefits to us, but until the biology of this protein is better understood and how it works, there is no reason to presume it will be beneficial. Who knows, maybe shutting it down for a short period of time will reset the bodies antibody production and heal the inflammation so the body can distinguish self from not-self. Its just one of those things that science moves very slowly and finding anything out about this is literally a Ph.D dissertation and then some in and of itself. An entire lab could be devoted to this research (and likely many are in some way) and find nothing for years. It is a truly great discovery though that will allow development of better models of the immune response so that one day we can piece the puzzle together, it just won't be in the near future most likely.
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Thank you for the info saidin. I probably was overly excited about the discovery. I would love to read the paper at some point and see the whole clinical picture though.
Well there are definitely good things that will come out of this research. Its just not really that clear how it could help us yet. I also have to read the paper myself to see why they might suggest that it could be beneficial to autoimmune disease since it could be better layed out than in the news article. Luckily Science papers are short, as in no more than 5 pages total in the main article with online supplemental data. Drew if you want the article just email me and I'll go get it for you since I can get Science articles on or off of campus. I'll email you a PDF back with whatever related information there is. Its just easier to do it on campus so I don't have to login to the VPN.