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Anti-cancer play Noxopharm says it has discovered a way to inhibit a protein that’s known as the ‘master switch’ in the development of severe inflammation, including autoimmune diseases.

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) announced this morning that its two-thirds-owned subsidiary Nyrada had discovered a compound that is a “potent inhibitor” of the protein — known as IRAK4.

Shares in Noxopharm rose 6pc on the news to 65.5c.

Noxopharm is investigating whether its drug NOX66 has an effect on the quality of life in patients with late-stage, spreading cancer. Early data suggests that it does.

Noxopharm says IRAK4 has emerged in recent years as a key switch in the cells that make up the body’s immune system. Faulty IRAK4 behaviour plays a key role in the development of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

The company is planning pre-clinical trials to identify the best affliction targets for treatment, with multiple sclerosis a lead candidate.

Noxopharm shares have halved in recent months after two impressive runs in December last year and early March this year which saw the company’s shares trading around the $1.50 mark.

Noxopharm shares (ASX:NOX) over the past year.