Australia's national science agency CSIRO has identified a gene that plays a critical role in regulating the body's immune response to infection and disease. The discovery could lead to the development of new treatments for influenza, arthritis, and even cancer. The gene, called C6orf106 or "C6," controls the production of proteins involved in infectious diseases, cancer, and diabetes. The gene has existed for 500 million years, but its potential is only now understood. The article is titled “C6orf106 Is A Novel Inhibitor of the Interferon-Regulatory Factor 3-Dependent Innate Antiviral Response.” "Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease," CSIRO researcher Dr. Cameron Stewart said. "C6 regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiraling out of control. The cytokines regulated by C6 are implicated in a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis." The discovery helps improve our understanding of our immune system, and it is hoped that this understanding will enable scientists to develop new, more targeted therapies. "Even though the human genome was first fully sequenced in 2003, there are still thousands of genes that we know very little about," Dr. Rebecca Ambrose, a former CSIRO researcher, now based at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research said. Dr. Ambrose was part of the CSIRO team that discovered the C6 gene, and co-authored the recent paper announcing the discovery, published online on May 25, 2018 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
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