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Bernese researchers stick drugs directly to intestinal wall

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 26 October 2023

A gel developed by the University of Bern can be used to stick drugs directly to an inflamed intestinal wall. Patients with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory condition, should be helped more specifically and with fewer side effects.

Bernese researchers stick drugs directly to intestinal wall
source: x.com

The new lipid gel remains on the intestinal wall and releases its active ingredient evenly, the University of Bern (Unibe) announced on Tuesday. At room temperature, it is liquid and can be injected as an enema into the inflamed area of the colon. There, at body temperature, it forms a viscous and sticky gel and remains adherent for at least six hours.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight, and fatigue. According to the researchers, drugs against this often do not achieve the desired effect, despite frequent side effects.

The researchers wanted to counteract this with targeted delivery. A drug is usually most effective when it is administered exactly where it is supposed to work in the body. If, on the other hand, it is swallowed or injected, it spreads throughout the body. This increases the risk of undesirable effects.

Tests on mice successful

After initial tests with artificial membranes and intestinal tissue samples from rats, the researchers tested the gel on living mice with an intestinal inflammation comparable to ulcerative colitis in humans. To do so, they loaded the gel with active ingredients approved for the treatment of ulcerative colitis in humans. The active ingredients are taken orally, according to Unibe, and have significant side effects when used conventionally.

In the tests, the researchers say the health of the treated mice improved significantly. They had better inflammation levels than the control group and lost less weight. Before the first trials in patients can follow, however, further tests on animal models are needed, according to the University of Bern.

©Keystone/SDA

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