Celiac.com 06/12/2009 - In a medical first, researchers at UCLA have made a connection between intestinal inflammation and systemic chromosome damage in mice, a discovery that may pave the way for early identification and treatment of human inflammatory disorders, some of which raise the risk for various kinds of cancer, according a study published in Cancer Research.

Scientists discovered that local intestinal inflammation caused DNA damage to lymphocytes of the peripheral blood circulating throughout the body. So, contrary to conventional medical wisdom, chromosome damage is not limited to the immediate intestine, but involves body tissues far away from the actual inflammation. Their results showed single- and double-strand DNA breaks in the blood, and chromosome damage in peripheral blood indicating systemic genetic damage.

Inflammatory diseases have been linked to some lymphomas and abdominal, liver and colorectal cancers, said Robert Schiestl, lead author, and professor of pathology, radiation oncology and environmental health sciences and a Jonsson Cancer Center scientist.

Finding inflammation early – before any symptoms surface - and treating the associated causes quickly may prevent the damage that eventually triggers these cancers, he said. Before the study, researchers had no knowledge that "intestinal inflammation causes damage that can be found throughout the body,” said Schiestl, adding that this "may help explain how inflammation leads to these cancers.”

Intestinal inflammation can be caused by such maladies as Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative