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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Inflammation and Cancer Risk

Inflammation is a manifestation of innate immunity and corresponds to the rapid and non-specific defense response elicited by various challenges including traumatic injury, exposure to environmental threats (e.g., polluted air) and infectious agents (e.g., viruses, bacteria) or other forms of stresses that threaten the integrity of organs, tissues, and processes in our body.

InflammationInnate and acquired immune responses are highly complex and multi-faceted and can go awry if an imbalance among the multitude of soluble and cellular effectors involved in their regulation occurs. Chronic inflammation, driven for instance by a prolonged and/or excessive immune response, is now recognized to be a powerful enhancer of tumorigenesis, of aging-related disorders such as neurodegeneration, and of other chronic conditions.

Inflammation is one among many risk factors for acute and chronic diseases that is being studied in the Department.

Photo Caption: The image corresponds to a microscopic view of a stained section of mouse skin tissue that is heavily inflammed as a result of the genetically-engineered deletion of a specific keratin cytoskeletal protein. By virtue of its strategic location at the interface with the external world, the skin plays important roles of protection, immunological surveillance, and defense.