Know Your Foe: TNF-alpha

The following is a classified communique, smuggled across the blood/brain barrier from counter-insurgency leaders in the cortex.

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*URGENT MESSAGE FOR PARTISANS OF THE DEFENDERS OF THE DIGESTIVE TISSUES*

It’s been a long battle.  No one knows better than we do how entrenched and seemingly unstoppable are the rogue forces within the immune system that persist in waging their psychotic war against the innocent cells of the alimentary canal.  And no one knows better than we do the sacrifices our allies have made in the ongoing effort to protect and preserve the digestive tract for future generations.  Up until now, our only weapon against the autoimmune offensive has been the cortisol flood.  Our adrenal compatriots have been valiant in this matter, but we all knew it was never more than a stopgap measure.  Overproduction of corticosteroids takes too much of a toll on us all to be a long term solution.

But soon we will have a new weapon.  Our enemy’s weak point has been identified, and we are poised to attack.

tnfa_crystal_structureThis is our target: tumor necrosis factor alpha.  This cytokine has been identified as the molecule the enemy is using to regulate its illegal inflammatory actions.  Without TNF-alpha, the insurgents will be unable to continue clear-cutting our villi and ulcerating our viscera.  Their hidden macrophages will be rendered impotent, their detestable engines of apoptosis will grind to a halt.  We have the intelligence we need to end this war.  And, soon, we will have the means to act on it.  But we can’t do it alone; to strike this blow, we will need to accept help from an unusual source.

Your tireless counter-insurgency leaders have for some time now been in communication with extra-corpus agents.  We are aware that the idea of opening our borders to mercenary elements may be unsettling to some, but the reality of our situation is that such an alliance is our only path to victory.  The negotiations have been long and difficult, but, thanks to these efforts, we will be able to mount a new counter-offensive within one diurnal cycle.

humira-moleculeThe operation, code named “Project Humira,” will involve the introduction of an extra-corpus produced molecule called adalimumab.  It is an antibody designed to target TNF-alpha directly.  We currently lack the means to manufacture this antibody ourselves, but we have negotiated what we believe will be a steady supply, to be introduced into the circulatory system from without.  It is our belief that, with this antibody at our disposal, we can downregulate the insurgents’ inflammatory activity and finally end their destructive madness.  The unique and irreplaceable tissues of the digestive tract will be preserved for the appreciation and benefit our daughter cells and their daughter cells after them, down through the generations.  We will know homeostasis in our time.  Victory will soon be ours.

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Not for distribution within active inflammation zones.  Denature after transcription.

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  1. Onward, to victory! Death to the insurgency!

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