A new gel brought some relief for those with inflammatory bowel disease.
The scientists have developed a hydro gel that sticks to the inflamed tissue and slowly releases medicine to reduce the inflammation of colon. Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis mostly depend on medicine given by enema, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. However, the newly discovered gel-like material reduces the need for daily enemas.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) as well as collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the hydrogel.
“We are hopeful that this technology will allow patients to take an enema once a week rather than every day without systemic side effects or the need to retain the enema, as the gel quickly attaches to ulcers, ultimately improving their quality of life,” said Dr. Jeff Karp, chief researcher from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Patients receiving enemas retain relatively little medication and sometimes it can be difficult. To overcome this issue, the team began their work by selecting a type of gel called ascorbyl plamitate, which is safe and already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They experimented on mice as well as on bowel tissue from affected individuals, the gel attached selectively to the areas of inflammation.
Then the scientists loaded the gel with a corticosteroid, which is commonly used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The gel latches onto the affected tissue and releases it only when broken down by enzymes found in the diseased cells.
Thousands of young Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis, the most common form of IBD, causes chronic inflammation and ulcers in the mucosal lining of the colon. Most common symptoms include diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus, severe abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss and appetite. IMAGE/healthline