1st Healthy Volunteer Dosed in Phase 1 Trial of Potential IBD Treatment IMU-856

1st Healthy Volunteer Dosed in Phase 1 Trial of Potential IBD Treatment IMU-856
The first healthy volunteer has been dosed in an Australian Phase 1 clinical trial investigating IMU-856, a potential novel treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to the therapy's developer Immunic Therapeutics. IBD is an autoimmune disorder in which cells of the immune system attack the digestive tract, causing inflammation that leads to gastrointestinal symptoms. Typically, IBD treatments are targeted at reducing inflammation, but this can lower immune system activity, potentially leaving a patient vulnerable to other complications. Instead of targeting inflammation, IMU-856 was designed to restore the functionality of the intestinal barrier, the dysfunction of which is implicated in a number of digestive conditions, including IBD. Of note, disruption of the intestinal barrier can cause microbes and other foreign compounds to pass into the intestine, triggering an immune response and causing inflammation. “Current treatments for many gastrointestinal conditions focus on inhibiting inflammation and do not directly address impaired intestinal barrier function,” Hella Kohlhof, PhD, chief scientific officer of Immunic, said in a press release. “In contrast, IMU-856 appears to have a unique targeted ability to strengthen and thereby normalize this function, potentially avoiding the bacterial triggers which can occur when the intestinal barrier is impaired,” she said. IMU-856 is a small oral molecule that targets an as-of-yet undisclosed protein involved in the regulation of intestinal barrier function. Preclinical data from Immunic showed that the treatment improves the intestinal barrier function and with little to no effect on the immune system, prompting the Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee in Australia to approve
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