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According to a new study, a well-equipped, gut-friendly bacteria can help treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Combined with probiotics, nanoparticle backpacks could significantly improve and simplify IBD treatments, according to research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the US, which was led by Quanyin Hu, a biomedical engineer and professor.

“IBD is a complicated disease, and you need to attack it at different angles,” said Hu in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.

Hu and his colleagues devised specialised nanoparticles to neutralise molecules implicated in IBD. They’ve also figured out a way of attaching these nanoparticle “backpacks” to beneficial bacteria after encasing them in the protective coating. The nanoparticle backpacks are part sulfide and part hyaluronic acid. The acid is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and the sulfide targets the reactive oxygen species.

Conducted in mice, the researchers estimated the effects of the treatments in two ways, by measuring changes in weight and changes in the colon length of mice with IBD that did and did not receive the treatment. Like humans, mice with IBD commonly experience weight loss and colon shortening as the disease progresses.

Hu and his colleagues found that mice receiving the full treatment experienced the least weight loss and much less colon shortening than their counterparts receiving partial or no treatments.

“We didn’t want to target a specific IBD stage. We wanted to select the most important factors that contribute to curing or treating the disease at whatever stage,” said Hu.

Additionally, the treatment is administered orally, which could make it a palatable alternative to other more invasive forms of IBD treatment, such as partial or complete removal of the colon. While the results are promising, it will be some time before the treatments are tested in humans.


The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.