The ABCs of Biotech for Christians - Twenty-first in a series - T is for Tumor Necrosis Factor
Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) is a pro inflammatory cytokine, a protein that signals information. We laypeople will approach this subject from a simpler perspective.
Have you ever had a problem with inflammation? Probably so. If you have ever had a fever, you had a system-wide inflammation, but it may not have been a very big health dilemma. However, if you have or have had severe brain injury, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or other major health challenge, then you understand that inflammation is a serious problem. You have too much TNF.
Some diseases are caused or result from the body’s turning on itself. “An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.” For example in multiple sclerosis, the person’s immune system attacks a fatty material, myelin, which wraps around nerve fibers to protect them. Without that outer shell, the nerves become damaged, so the brain cannot send signals through the body correctly. What causes MS and other autoimmune diseases?
For most, the cause is unknown. Certainly the usual suspects are to be blamed: not enough rest or sleep, lack of exercise, poor diet, stress. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle eventually will take a toll on us. Unfortunately, those causes are not always possible to address in some lives, in a timely manner. Also, heredity may be the chief culprit. The biotech challenge is to find answers for healing no matter what the causes.
Medical researchers have have learned a lot about TNF and its role in illness. It has been found to induce fever, activate the coagulation system, induce hypoglycemia, slow down heart contractions, reduce vascular resistance, bring about weakness, and help to control bacterial growth in septic shock. And a lot more.
A particularly exciting discovery is how TNF can be reduced to restore normal functioning in stroke victims. The YouTube video describes and shows the process, and the many comments on the page are enlightening as well.
This topic shows how biotech discoveries are moving mountains without using embryonic stem cells. This is the research we should applaud and encourage young doctors and scientists to pursue.