Researchers Get $1.4 Million to Study Novel Therapeutic Approaches to Treat Intestinal Inflammation
ATLANTA—Researchers in Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences have received a four-year, $1.4 million federal grant to study novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of intestinal inflammation.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, is a chronic, debilitating inflammatory condition for which existing, effective treatments are limited by significant, systemic side-effects. There is an unmet need for delivering drugs specifically and exclusively to the inflamed regions of the intestine for a prolonged period using a local delivery system. Such a system could significantly reduce the side effects of otherwise effective treatments.
Dr. Didier Merlin, professor, and Dr. Tim Denning, associate professor, have a productive record of collaborations and will use the grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to bring together traditional and cutting-edge scientific approaches in the gastroenterology field.
The principal investigators’ research will focus on defining specific factors and cells that may be targeted to treat IBD. They will test whether nanoparticle-mediated manipulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory factors can limit intestinal inflammation and promote wound healing during IBD. To accomplish this, they will use advanced approaches employing siRNA nanoparticles that target key pro-healing and anti-inflammation factors, which are involved in the pathogenesis of IBD.
Complementary models of acute and chronic intestinal inflammation will also be used to further define which specific intestinal cells should be targeted by nanoparticles and the beneficial effect of this delivery system in dampening inflammation and promoting wound healing. These studies will help to define novel biological functions of nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery during intestinal inflammation and have the potential to optimize treatment of human IBD.
An abstract of the grant, 1R01DK107739-01A1, is available at the NIH’s Project RePORTer website.
For more information about the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, visit https://biomedical.gsu.edu.
Center for Inflammation, Immunity & Infection
Timothy Denning specializes in research on how antigen presenting cells regulate adaptive immune responses at mucosal surfaces. In particular, he is interested in how intestinal macrophages and dendritic cells control CD4+ T cell differentiation and function in the intestine during homeostasis and inflammatory conditions. The research has applications for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic, relapsing inflammatory disorder of the digestive tract.
Center for Diagnostics and Therpeutics, Center for Inflammation Immunity & Infection
Didier Merlin is Professor at Georgia State University and Research Career Scientist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, GA. His research area is the study of intestinal epithelia, as directly related to intestinal bowel disease (IBD). Over one million adults and children in the US, including members of the VA population, suffer from IBD, and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The VA IBD patients have a much higher rate of colorectal cancer compared to the general population. New therapeutic strategies based on a better understanding of the pathogenesis of IBD will improve the clinical care of veteran and non-veteran patients with this disorder.