Irish researchers have made a major breakthrough in the fight against bowel diseases such as Crohn’s, they have revealed.

Scientists at NUI Maynooth discovered what they described as a crucial role for protein in controlling unwanted inflammation in the intestine.

Professor Paul Moynagh, who led the research team, said the identification of the protein Pellino3 may protect against the development of the incurable Crohn’s disease.

The team discovered that levels of Pellino3 are dramatically reduced in Crohn’s disease patients.

It will now use the protein as a basis for new diagnostic for Crohn’s and as a target in designing drugs to treat the illness.

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Scientists at NUI Maynooth have pinpointed how control and regulation of a specific gene could combat debilitating diseases like multiple sclerosis.

After three years of research the team is in the early stages of trying to uncover how to manipulate the Pellino3 gene to tackle serious illnesses.

Research published in the US journal Nature Immunology showed the gene’s critical function is to regulate the amount of protective proteins released by our immune systems to fight a virus.

Professor Paul Moynagh said it was a significant breakthrough in viral immunology.

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