Nanotechnology in the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Particles, in the size of nanometres, can be used to deliver medications directly to the area of inflammation thus avoiding drug-associated systemic side effects.
To date, there is no cure for IBD, and therapy is aimed to achieve and maintain remission from inflammatory episodes. Inflammatory bowel disease treatment currently consists of anti-inflammatory agents such as 5-aminosalicylates (5-ASAs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologic agents such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) antagonists, anti-interleukins, and anti-integrins.6 These drugs can induce and maintain remission; however, they are endowed with serious side effects including increased risk of infections and certain cancers.7 In addition, patients must continue drug administration for the long-term to prevent relapse of the disease. Discovering a treatment that can be delivered and localized to the inflamed tissues, avoiding systemic side effects, would prove beneficial for IBD patients. Nanopharmacology represents an avenue to achieve selective delivery of therapeutics to diseased sites using nanocarriers or nanoparticles (NPs).8
This review summarizes conventional and unconventional therapies applied in the treatment of IBD underlying how the introduction of NPs has improved their safety and efficacy profiles by providing local drug delivery, increasing drug concentration, and avoiding systemic side effects. See Table 1.
Nanopharmacology offers a promising future for medicine, providing the opportunity to develop molecules or carriers that can target agents to their site of activity. This can help treat medical conditions such as IBD, where certain medications have limited applications due to inherent side effects. Because this is an evolving science, more studies are required to identify the NPs’ pharmacokinetics, therapeutic efficacy, and safety in humans. The studies presented so far encourage researchers to continue to identify and experiment with possible drug alternatives. Moreover, these studies can serve as a tool for future studies in humans, with the potential to safely treat a broader range of diseases by targeting their exact location of disease and avoiding systemic toxicity and side effects.
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Download research paper here: Nanotechnology in the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease