Mathieu Vinken, a professor in the In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) lab at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and doctoral candidate Raf Van Campenhout have developed a technique based on nanobody technology to prevent liver inflammation. Nanobodies, or single-domain antibodies, are fragments of antibodies that can selectively bind to a specific antigen. Because they are simple to produce and react in very specific ways, they are often used in various biotechnological, therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

"During a previous research project financed by an ERC Starting Grant, my team discovered that a specific type of molecule, pannexins, played an important role in certain inflammatory diseases," says Vinken. "Pannexins are tube-like molecules found in the cell membrane. In a healthy state, these tubes are closed, but when diseased, they open, allowing substances through, leading to inflammation and eventually cell death.
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