Protein May Fight Bacterial Infection-related Gastric Cancer

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Each year approximately 740,000 patients with gastric cancer die worldwide. Identifying and understanding the causes of this disease is important. It is known that infection of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a major trigger of gastric cancer because a drawn-out infection leads to inflammation of the stomach.


According to a study published online in Cell Reports, researchers discovered the protein IL23A plays an important role in the stomach’s defense against bacterial infection that results in gastric cancer. Senior principal investigator Yoshiaki Ito and researchers at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore found that when stomach cells are exposed to H. pylori, then the protein IL23A is produced, even though only white blood cells normally produce it. This indicates that the stomach’s defense system uses IL23A to fight against bacterial infection.


In addition, researchers found that IL23A production in stomach cells requires the tumor suppressor gene RUNX3. Gastric cancer silences this gene, which is important during inflammation and infection caused by the bacterium.


Researchers have concluded stomach cells cannot respond to infection by H. pylori when RUNX3 is silenced, and this makes the stomach susceptible to the carcinogenic bacterium. Research continues as the team determines the function of the newly discovered IL23A complex.

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Protein May Fight Bacterial Infection-related Gastric Cancer

A team of scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) discovered that a protein named IL23A is part of our stomach's defense against bacterial infection which leads to gastric cancer. This finding could potentially be used to combat the deadly disease.

The research group, led by Professor Yoshiaki Ito, Senior Principal Investigator at CSI Singapore, also showed that the production of IL23A by stomach cells requires the tumor suppressor gene, RUNX3, which is frequently silenced in gastric cancer. The novel study was first published online in the leading journal Cell Reports.

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