Ulcerative Colitis Treatment with Herbal Molecular Drug

Ulcerative colitis (UC) may one day be treated with an oral microparticle and natural herbal molecular drug, according to findings presented in the journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) may one day be treated with an oral microparticle and natural herbal molecular drug, according to findings presented in the journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.

Researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University used an emulsion solvent evaporation method to create pH sensitive microparticles in animal models of UC, a press release explained. The drug was comprised of a biocompatible polymer and filled with curcumin (an anti inflammatory agent that is extracted from a natural herbal source).

Previous research demonstrated curcumin’s ability to weaken inflammation in animal models of colitis, the researchers added. Additinoally, curcumin is found to reduce the rate of relapse of UC in animals in pre-clinical experiments.

“Orally administered microparticles may offer an efficient drug delivery system because they are characterized by a high drug loading capacity and may target colitis tissues based on abnormalities,” continued study researcher Didier Merlin in the statement.

The researchers found that the treatment was successful in areas of pH sensitivity, controlled drug release, and colon targeting. The curcumin rich particles demonstrated to the researchers that the treatment was a viable drug carrier for clinical treatment for UC. The team improved the therapy’s efficiency by adjusting factors like curcumin release and load efficiency.

According to Merlin, even though there are advances in drug developments for UC, there remains an unmet need for a delivery system that is able to provide a drug specifically and exclusively to the inflamed region for a long duration.

Current drug treatments for UC are administered through intravenous therapies and run throughout the body, instead of directly targeting the colon. This requires higher doses, Merlin said, and causes unwanted side effects.

More recent developments for UC treatment, such as those from the past decade, were traditionally only anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants, which both also have short- and long term side effects, the authors said.

Treatments with inhibitor inducing drugs or inflammatory cytokines (like anti TNFa agents) that induce T cell death are generally among the most potent drugs for inflammatory bowel syndrome and UC, but do still have serious side effects.