Recent Research Reveals Hydrogels Provide Greater Relief To IBD Patients

Recent Research Reveals Hydrogels Provide Greater Relief To IBD Patients
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – an umbrella term used to refer to Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and other chronic inflammatory conditions affecting the intestine -- is difficult to both diagnose and treat in patients. What makes IBD diagnosis and treatment particularly difficult is the similarity in symptoms between the conditions, which include diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. Once the diagnosis has been made, treatment options mostly include daily enemas, which tend to be uncomfortable and lead to harmful side-effects when absorbed by healthy tissues. A team of scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston along with colleagues from other research centers have developed a solution to improving IBD diagnosis and treatment, and have reported their findings in a new study published in Science Translational Medicine. The study outlined the concept of an enema in the form of a hydogel, which could be used once a week instead of the usual daily routine, and would target only inflamed tissues, sparing their healthy counterparts. The hydrogel was formulated using ascorbic plamitate (AP), a material that is already approved for use in the United States. AP is negatively charged and anchors itself to positively charged sites of tissue damage. This formulation was incorporated in laboratory models via a corticodteroid drug commonly used to treat IBD. A key to the release of the hydrogel on inflamed sites only is the drug encountering an enzyme that is present in inflamed tissues, which was then tested in mice models genetically engineered to have Ulcerative Colitis. It was observed that, in comparison to routine enemas,
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