Ginger Nanoparticles May Be Inexpensive, Nontoxic IBD Treatment, VA Researchers Say

Ginger Nanoparticles May Be Inexpensive, Nontoxic IBD Treatment, VA Researchers Say
A study by researchers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center  revealed that nanoparticles derived from fresh ginger root may be an effective treatment for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In the lab, Veterans Affairs scientists transformed raw ginger into what they call "ginger-derived nanoparticles" (GDNPs) using a process that begins with a standard kitchen blender, and super-high-speed centrifuge and ultrasonic dispersion of the ginger juice to break it up into single pellets -- definitely not a do-it-yourself project. Each ginger-based nanoparticle measures roughly 230 nanometers in diameter; more than 300 of them could fit across the width of a single human hair. The VA research team led by Dr. Didier Merlin, a professor at Georgia State University's Institute for Biomedical Sciences and a research career scientist at the VA Medical Center, believes the GDNPs may not only be a good medicine for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but may also help fight cancer related to colitis. Merlin, whose main research focus is the study of intestinal epithelia, notes on his GSU website that more than one million adults and children in the U.S., including veterans, suffer from IBD, with about 50,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The VA IBD patients also have a much higher rate of colorectal cancer compared to the general population. However, he suggests that therapeutic strategies based on a better understanding of IBD development can improve clinical care of all patients with this disorder. Merlin said that in the intestine, epithelial cells act as a fence or barrier that separates the outside world (intestinal lumen) from the inside world (immune cells). Under conditions such as IBD, a dysregulation o
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