Northwestern Scientist Wins Award to Develop Safer Treatment for Pediatric Crohn’s Patients

Northwestern Scientist Wins Award to Develop Safer Treatment for Pediatric Crohn’s Patients
Two Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine scientists, Jeffrey Savas and Arun Sharma, have won the 2015 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards for projects into autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Crohn’s disease in children. The award includes $100,000 annually in direct research costs for three years. Dr. Sharma, a research assistant professor in urology, plans to develop new treatments for pediatric Crohn’s disease. Specifically, his work targets the development of anti-inflammatory nano-molecules to treat Crohn’s disease in children, whose symptoms include chronic inflammation and swelling of the intestines. According to the Pediatric IBD Foundation, IBD affects about 100,000 children in the U.S. Current Crohn’s disease treatments include oral medications and injectable drugs, but these circulate throughout the body, raising the risk of multiple side effects, including cancer.  These treatments are also designed for adult populations and not ideal for children. Dr. Sharma is developing nano-molecules that are non-toxic, avoiding many of these potential side effects. (The most drastic treatment, used when the others fail, is surgery to remove damaged parts of the intestine. Surgery, however, damages the body's ability to properly absorb nutrients and stunts growth.) “The importa
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