Faculty of Medicine

Bowel diseases: A new approach to treatment

In developed countries, around 400 out of every 100,000 people on average suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases. Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine have been evaluating a promising approach to a local therapy with minimal side effects. Drug treatments are better tolerated if they are able to act locally within the intestine, so – to this end – short, single-stranded or double-stranded ribonucleic acid molecules are used to essentially ‘switch off’ the genes causing the inflammation. Because they bind to the mRNA that they form, no more inflammation-inducing protein is produced. It is difficult to add the unstable siRNA to the bowel in practice; however, Prof. Astrid Westendorf from the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Prof. Matthias Epple from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry formed a work group that was able to overcome this obstacle using nanoparticles.