Researchers at Georgia State University's Institute for Biomedical Sciences won a $1.4 million federal grant to study novel therapeutic approaches to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). IBDs like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are chronic, inflammatory conditions whose existing treatments are limited by significant side effects. Patients still lack specific drugs to protect the intestine for prolonged periods using a local delivery system, which could help reduce side effects. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a division of the National Institutes of Health, awarded the four-year grant to an Atlanta-based research team led by GSU professors Didier Merlin and Tim Denning, according to a press release. The two will define specific factors and cells that may be targeted to treat IBD. They will evaluate if nanoparticle-mediated manipulation of factors that promote healing and inhibit inflammation can limit intestinal inflammation and promote wound healing in IBD. Researchers will employ small interfering (si)RNA nanoparticles — or small molecules — to silence certain genes, therefore stopping the production of proteins.