Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is lifelong, debilitating condition that afflicts one in every 150 Canadians. Worryingly, the number of people diagnosed with IBD is rising worldwide, including among new Canadians and children. There is currently no cure for IBD, so treatment options are limited to managing symptoms with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Unfortunately, the oral administration of classical steroid IBD drugs is complicated by undesired side effects that result from premature uptake in the stomach and small intestine. Dr. Brumer and colleagues have recently developed a novel approach to link anti-inflammatory steroids to a complex carbohydrate from vegetables. This carbohydrate protects the steroids, allowing them to pass to the lower bowel, where they are released by beneficial bacteria of the microbiota.
Dr. Brumer and colleagues have validated this 'GlycoCage Technology' in the laboratory, including preliminary testing with human gut bacteria and in a preclinical animal model of IBD. The next steps in this research include further testing in additional animal models to determine dosage, safety, and efficacy. This will provide essential data before progressing to human trials and clinical application.