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 15, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 15, 2020
FDA Approves Drugs Faster than Ever- But is That Good?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is approving new drugs for patients on less and less evidence thanks to special programs that streamline their appro...
JAN 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 25, 2020
Taking Psychedelics Improves Mood, says Yale Researchers
Psychedelics have long been known for their potential to enable deep reflection and modulate people’s moods. But evidence for this mostly came from a...
FEB 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 25, 2020
China Approves Trials for Favipiravir to Treat Coronavirus
As of February 25th 2020, there have been 80, 354 reported cases of COVID-19 (Wuhan coronavirus), including 2,707 deaths and 27,898 recoveries. Currently w...
FEB 27, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 27, 2020
New Drug Shows Promise in Treating Chronic Cough
Between 4% and 10% of adults around the world have an unexplainable chronic cough that has lasted for over 8 weeks. Although no treatments are currently av...
MAR 07, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 07, 2020
Do Surgical Masks Really Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?
As COVID-19 has spread around the world, there has been a global run on surgical masks. This has led some governments, such as that in India, to ban the ex...
MAR 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 23, 2020
Top 5 Candidates for Coronavirus Vaccine Around the World
It’s easy to complain about the role of big pharma in medicine-making and the hassle of dealing with protective patents when combating various diseas...
Loading Comments...