DEC 11, 2019 2:20 PM PST

Drug To Treat Ulcerative Colitis

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Biomedical researchers at the University of California—Riverside, found that the therapeutic drug ‘tofacitinib’ used in treating autoimmunity symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can also treat gut permeability defects in patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. "Our work increases our understanding of how this drug is useful for treating ulcerative colitis," said Declan McCole, a professor of biomedical sciences in the UCR School of Medicine, and the lead author of the study that appears in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. "We now better understand where in the gut the drug is working, and how."

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting 1 million Americans. The condition targets the large intestine in the digestive system that results in the lining of the colon becoming inflamed and leaky. But, tofacitinib—often marketed as Xeljianz—can repair the cells lining the gut.

"We found tofacitinib fixes the leakiness in the intestinal barrier," McCole said. "Specifically, it fixes intestinal epithelial permeability defects caused by 'interferon-gamma,' an inflammatory cytokine involved in autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis."

Learn more about ulcerative colitis:

Intestinal permeability, or leakiness, is a characteristic of ulcerative colitis and results in inflammation. Researchers believe that tofacitinib targets the inflammation-induced permeability in the lining and prevents fluid loss.

"By targeting specific molecules, the drug inhibits a pathway that is activated by inflammation," said Anica Sayoc-Becerra, a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, a member of McCole's lab, and the first author of the research paper. "Our study shows tofacitinib is not just acting on immune cells, as was first thought, but can have a direct effect on the epithelial cells that are the key factor in maintaining gut barrier function."

Source: University of California

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JAN 25, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 25, 2020
The Women Who Can Smell Without Olfactory Bulbs
Until now, it has been commonly accepted that our sense of smell depends on the transmission of olfactory information from the nose to the olfactory bulb i...
JAN 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 25, 2020
Experimental Cholesterol-Lowering Drug
A recent study shows that patients who take a maximum dose of statin drugs in addition to a twice-yearly injection of the experimental cholesterol-lowering...
JAN 25, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 25, 2020
Federal Restrictions Make It Hard For Cannabis Researchers
With marijuana use becoming more popular in aiding health, scientists race to find clarity around its health benefits and risks. Since the legalization of...
JAN 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 25, 2020
Eye Solution Approved for Surgical Application
As announced by the Dutch Ophthalmic Research Center in a press release, a new eye solution was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration fo...
JAN 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 25, 2020
Treating Malaria: Molecular Understanding of Drug Interactions
Crystallization is a process central to drug development that despite centuries of facilitating a particular method, chemists are still learning how to gra...
JAN 25, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 25, 2020
Scientists Engineer Venom-Producing Organoids
Snake venom is also a source of therapeutics, and a potential source of new medicines....
Loading Comments...