August 2 2008 post: Beth posted (see: http://tinyurl.com/5bg9wh) about a July 31st Science Daily article that I hadn’t read yet …Science Daily newsletters tend to pile up in my e-mail box, and I read them only when I have a snippet of extra time, which does not happen very frequently (especially of late!). Anyway, this particular article talks about the recent discovery of two processes that lead to the development of myeloma and other types of B cell malignancies. Fascinating stuff…I hope to be able to read the full study this fall. In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from the SD article (you can read the full text here: http://tinyurl.com/66kp3u).
Background: “We already know that the over-expression or mutation of molecules known as NIK and TRAF3 in B cells is associated with human multiple myeloma,” said Professor Mackay. “Our collaborative research uncovered two distinct processes involving these molecules that help explain why.”
Now, I had read about TRAF (=”TNF receptor associated factor”), but this is the first time, I think!, that I have seen any mention of this NIK thingie (NIK stands for “NF-kappaB inducing kinase,” by the way). Just goes to show how much there is to learn…!
Anyway, this is what happens: The first process involves NIK, an enzyme that acts closely with BAFF, the substance that regulates the number of B cells in our bodies. If we have too much of this enzyme, NIK, in our body, then we may develop a B cell malignancy. Lovely.
The second process, associated with the first, involves TRAF3, the molecule that negatively regulates NIK. Professor Mackay explained that in a healthy person, NIK and TRAF3 work together, helping to maintain the right number of B cells for survival. “But when there are mutations in either molecule, they become uncoupled. In other words, TRAF 3 no longer represses the action of NIK when necessary.”
So, under normal circumstances, the two molecules work together. But, at a certain point in time, one of them may go bonkers for some unknown reason and escape the other’s control. And this unfortunate event could lead to the development of a B cell malignancy. I am left with the question “why does this happen?” that may find an answer in the full study.
This discovery won’t mean much for us patients right now. But in the future perhaps we will be able to be tested for these mutations and take what the article defines as targeted medications. That would be good, so long as said medications are natural and non-toxic.
Speaking of non-toxic, and just for the fun of it, I just googled curcumin and NIK. Well, well. I came across something of interest that I hope to look into more carefully in the next few days: curcumin inhibits the deranged NIK oncogene…see http://tinyurl.com/6exze6 and http://tinyurl.com/64vxsl. How about that?