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Washington State University

Study identifies key protein that drives rheumatoid arthritis damage

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Health Sciences Spokane Office of Research

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientists have identified a protein known as sulfatase‑2 that plays a critical role in the damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own joint tissues, rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

Published in the journal Cellular & Molecular Immunology, the discovery sheds new light on the molecular processes that drive inflammation seen in rheumatoid arthritis. It could also someday lead to improved treatment of the disease, which currently has no cure.

“Tumor necrosis factor‑alpha — or TNF‑alpha for short … » More …

Research Day showcases cutting-edge discoveries in science

On August 12, current and future scientists gathered to show off their work at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) Research Day. The all-day event is a celebration of the broad range of research that is ongoing in the college, and an opportunity for trainees to obtain valuable presentation experience and feedback on their research.

“This day really shows the breadth of the cutting-edge research that is happening at the college,” said Pharmaceutical Sciences Interim … » More …

Discovery could improve cancer immunotherapy

By Sara Zaske, WSU News

A type of white blood cell previously known only as a helper in the immune system appears also to be the instigator of the body’s defenses against cancerous tumors. The discovery could lead to more effective cancer immunotherapy, a promising treatment which uses the body’s own immune system, rather than radiation, to attack cancer cells.

In an animal study, Washington State University researchers found that a population of T cells called CD4-positive helper T cells helped start a chain of antitumor immunity defenses that allow killer cells to better infiltrate melanoma and breast cancer tumors. T cells belong to a … » More …

Researcher on the Rise: Q&A with Chris Szlenk

Looking for a change after completing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, Chris Szlenk left his home state of Alabama in 2017 to pursue a PhD at Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. A rotation in the lab of assistant professor Senthil Natesan got him interested in the field of computer-aided drug design. » More ...

Cannabis use could cause harmful drug interactions

Using cannabis alongside other drugs may come with a significant risk of harmful drug-drug interactions, new research by scientists at Washington State University suggests. The researchers looked at cannabinoids—a group of substances found in the cannabis plant—and their major metabolites found in cannabis users’ blood and found that they interfere with two families of enzymes that help metabolize a wide range of drugs prescribed for a variety of conditions. As a result, either the drugs’ positive effects might decrease or their negative effects might increase with too much building up in the body, causing unintended side effects such as toxicity or accidental overdose. » More ...

Acquiring research experience during pharmacy school

Fourth-year pharmacy student Emily Hitt shares her experience with research during her pharmacy education. Getting involved in research can provide a competitive edge needed to secure postgraduate opportunities after pharmacy school, which is vital if you wish to pursue a career in academia or research. Research experience, presentations, and publications are valued by residency program directors and can provide a competitive edge for opportunities after pharmacy school. » More ...

Research identifies potential role of ‘junk DNA’ sequence in aging, cancer

We don’t often think about ourselves this way, but our bodies are made up of trillions of living cells. We age as our cells age, which happens when those cells eventually stop replicating and dividing. Scientists have long known that our genes influence how our cells age and how long we live, but how that works exactly remains unclear. Findings from a new study led by researchers at Washington State University have solved a small piece of that puzzle, bringing scientists one step closer to solving the mystery of aging. » More ...

Target protein identified for improving heart attack treatment

SPOKANE, Wash. – A new study led by researchers at Washington State University has identified a protein that could be the key to improving treatment outcomes after a heart attack.

Published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research suggests that protein kinase A (PKA) plays a role in heart muscle cell necrosis, a major type of cell death that commonly occurs after reperfusion therapy, the treatment used to unblock arteries and restore blood flow after a heart attack.

“Our study has … » More …

Inflammation-fighting protein could improve treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

New research led by scientists at Washington State University has found that a protein known as GBP5 appears to play a key role in suppressing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially debilitating disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own joint tissues. Published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, the discovery could someday lead to new treatments to slow or halt the progress of the disease, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. The researchers said it may also have applications in other inflammatory diseases. » More ...