A preclinical study found that Cyxone’s investigational T20K therapy was able to reduce the immune system’s activity in an animal model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), showing promise as a treatment for the disease.
T20K belongs to a family of natural peptides derived from plants called cyclotides. Researchers found that cyclotides are able to inhibit the cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2), a messenger molecule that induces inflammation, halting the proliferation of the immune system’s T-cells.
Results from the first phase of Cyxone’s pilot study testing T20K for the treatment of IBD indicate that the compound reduces the activity of T-cells, an effect observed in the lymph nodes of an animal model of acute IBD.
T-cell activation is thought to be crucial for the exaggerated inflammatory response that occurs in IBD; therefore T20K’s ability to suppress these cells’ activity holds promise as a potential treatment for IBD. Cyxone will further investigate the clinical benefits of the therapy for IBD symptoms in a second phase using an animal model that more closely mimics the nature of the disease.
“We feel encouraged that cyclotides seem to mitigate T-cell activity, which is very positive and of even greater importance for the treatment of chronic IBD. We are, therefore, further analyzing the data before we make a final decision on whether IBD will be included in Cyxone’s strategy for autoimmune diseases,” Kjell G. Stenberg, PHD, CEO of Cyxone, said in a press release.
Cyxone decided to investigate the therapy as a potential IBD treatment following preclinical studies that showed positive effects of T20K on multiple sclerosis (MS). Interest in the effects of cyclotides on IBD was piqued after it was discovered that T20K appears to accumulate in the intestine and spleen, organs involved in IBD.
In the MS studies, researchers from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and Freiburg University Hospital in Germany discovered that oral treatment with the natural therapy significantly impeded disease progression without adverse side effects in animal models.
“We do believe that it is of great importance to collaborate with other industry parties to be able to quicker drive research forward to a joint goal of improving quality of life for people with autoimmune diseases. So, when we got the request of investigating the effect of cyclotides in IBD from a pharmaceutical company that saw great potential, we decided to do so,” Stenberg said.