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Nanoparticle relieved symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in mice

This nanomedicine can act across multiple inflammatory steps, so it's possible it could be effective for each stage of inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy have developed a nanoparticle that alters the gut microbiome and alleviates symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in mice more effectively than common FDA-approved medications.

The gut microbiome––the body’s environment of healthy and unhealthy bacteria––is the next frontier for drug development, and an imbalanced gut microbiome has been implicated in many human diseases, including IBD, said James Moon, the John G. Searle Associate Professor of Pharmacy. Moon, who also has an appointment in biomedical engineering, is the principal investigator on a study that appears Aug. 19 in Nature Materials.

IBD is an umbrella term for chronic debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases like  and Crohn’s, which are characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract and can include diarrhea, cramps, an inability to digest food, fatigue and .

“The imbalance between good and bad microbes in our gut is implicated in IBD, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autism and other conditions,” Moon said. “Being able to modulate the  so that we have a higher frequency of good bacteria would open many doors to new drug development.

“We were really excited because this is one of the first examples of using safe drug-like substances to increase the good microbiome. Some people are doing fecal transplants, which isn’t a great option for . These nanoparticles are safe and simple to produce.”

The  consist of two naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds: , a natural lubricant found in joints and also used in face creams and dermal fillers, tethered to bilirubin, which is produced in the liver. The HA-bilirubin particle binds much more effectively to inflamed colon tissues, increasing the good microbes in the colon tissues and allowing the damaged cell lining in the colon to heal.

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Posted on: August 28 2019

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