Tokyo: Japanese researchers have demonstrated the role of a protein in preventing inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The findings could accelerate the development of targeted drugs for inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases that are often characterised by abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, fever, and weight loss.
These symptoms frequently interfere with activities of daily living and place patients at an elevated risk of mortality. Patients are also associated with a high risk of developing colorectal cancer.
The researchers focused on the stomach cancer-associated protein tyrosine phosphatase (SAP)-1.
They showed that removal of SAP-1 in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease resulted in a marked increase in the incidence and severity of bowel inflammation, suggesting that SAP-1 plays a protective role against colitis.
"Since the discovery of SAP-1 at Kobe University in 1994, we have clarified its major function thanks to the efforts of many joint researchers,” said one of the researchers Matozaki Takashi, professor at Kobe University in Japan.
"Our future research interests are centered on the development of new therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease that take advantage of our understanding of SAP-1," Takashi noted.