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Omentum: ‘Policeman of Abdomen’ is an Important Organ to be studied

The Omentum is the least familiar organ to the scientists as well as to the public.

Obese man
An Obese man. The omentum is like an apron shaped sheet of fat stretching from the liver. Wikimedia
  • The omentum is a large sheet of fat stretching protecting the stomach, intestines and the liver
  • The research published in the Journal ‘Trends in Immunology’ highlights that the immune organ is actually a nursery for cancer cells
  • Also called the ‘Policeman of Abdomen’, the omentum is central to our body’s immune system

June 06, 2017: 

What is the Omentum?

The omentum is like an apron shaped sheet of fat stretching from the liver, intestines to the stomach. White patches that are known as ‘milky spots’ cover the surface of the omentum. The milky spots gather information from cells, antigens, and bacteria in order to deduce what really is going on. Accordingly, the omentum decides what immune reaction is required by the abdomen. It fights against infections and toxins.

The Good Part:

The omentum is a doctor within your body. It takes reports of the status of your abdomen well-being and acts accordingly. Scientists believe that omentum may have answers on how to stop the rapid growth of aggressive tumors in the human body. The organ is now under scrutiny as most of the things about the omentum are still unknown.

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The Bad Part: 

The omentum sometimes provides tolerance and not immunity to the tumor cells. Thus cancer cells are pushed towards the milky spots and they stick there. Cancer cells sometimes prompt a tolerant response from the omentum. Scientists fear that this fact of the omentum makes it a nursery for the breeding ground of more cancer cells. As the study says, omentum “sometimes makes wrong decisions”.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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A Protein That Can Stop Cancer?

The research showed that LHPP emerged as the top favourite. Pixabay

Researchers have discovered a protein that prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver.

The anti-cancer protein, called LHPP, can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer, said the study published in the journal Nature.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is usually diagnosed at a very late stage when the liver is already severely damaged and hence overall prognosis is poor.

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The researchers believe that detection of the anti-cancer protein LHPP as a biomarker may allow clinicians to provide better treatment options.

“It is striking that LHPP is present in healthy tissue and completely absent in tumour tissue,” said first author Sravanth Hindupur from University of Basel in Switzerland. Pixabay


In the study conducted in a mouse model for hepatocellular carcinoma, the researchers analyzed a total of more than 4,000 proteins, comparing them in healthy and tumour tissue.

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Re-introduction of the genetic information for LHPP by the researchers was found to prevent the formation of tumours and maintain liver function.

“Similar to the mouse model, we also saw a striking decrease in LHPP levels in tumours of patients with liver cancer,” Hindupur said. (IANS)

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