The effects of inflammation are well documented.
They’re linked to depression, fatigue, chronic pain and stress.
But how to treat inflammation can be difficult to avoid.
Dr Jennifer Koester, a lecturer in medical science at the University of Adelaide, says the most effective way to combat the effects of chronic stress is to reduce the level of inflammation in the body.
“The body naturally removes a lot of the stuff that it’s going through and that’s what inflammation is.”
So, when you are getting a lot more inflammation, you can actually be more resilient to it,” she said.
Dr Koesters work at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology at the Australian National University (ANU), where she is studying how to develop treatments for inflammatory disorders.”
We think that inflammation is the first line of defence against disease,” she says.”
It’s very common in chronic pain, fatigue and depression.
“That means inflammation can actually increase your risk of developing a range of other conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
The ANU has pioneered a new therapeutic approach called “re-inflammation” to reverse inflammation and prevent future problems.
The first step in treating inflammation is to remove the foreign material from your body.
Dr Kim-Kang Kang, a professor of internal medicine at the ANU, said the first step to treating inflammation was to remove any foreign material that was accumulating.
“If we can get rid of the foreign cells, then the next step is to clean the lining of the body, that’s where we start to look at how we can target the underlying mechanisms,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Dr Kang said it was important to remove toxins and other harmful substances from the body and to remove those that were causing inflammation.
“One of the things that’s been really important for us is looking at how to reduce inflammation,” she explained.
“And that’s actually the key to really getting things under control.”
Dr Kang is working with ANU’s Centre for Molecular Medicine to develop a new vaccine that would be delivered by a pill or a capsule.
The vaccine would target inflammation caused by a virus, and would work by targeting specific molecules in the blood that were interfering with the immune system.
Dr Keeley said there was still much work to be done in this area.
“While it’s been a bit of a success in the early stages, it’s also very difficult to develop the vaccine because of the very specific nature of this disease,” he said.
“Our research has shown that if we can identify specific molecules that are triggering inflammation, we can actually deliver the vaccine.”
Dr Koeester said the vaccine would likely work best when administered over a period of months.
“At this stage, it would be difficult, but it’s probably possible,” she added.
“What we’re hoping to achieve is to develop one that is safe and effective, so that we can deliver this vaccine to a wider population over the next 10 years.”