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January 2019 Research Update

Conquering Irritable Bowel Disease by Targeting Leukocytes

As recently reported in Nature Communications, scientists from Tel Aviv University have used targeted expression of interleukin 10 (IL-10) mRNA in Ly6c+ inflammatory leukocytes to bring new hope to people suffering from irritable bowel disease (IBD).

This is the first in vivo delivery system targeting leukocytes that has resulted in selective and efficient mRNA-based protein expression.

IBD refers to a group of intestinal disorders, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These disorders are characterized by a complex and dysregulated immune response and are associated with an imbalance of the intestinal microbiota, resulting in chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract.

To combat this, the authors focused on increasing IL-10 expression, an important anti-inflammatory cytokine involved in balancing intestinal immunity. However, they also acknowledge that past clinical trials using recombinant IL-10 have failed to induce a robust therapeutic effect.

"The main hurdles with recombinant IL-10 treatment were the short half-life of only a few hours and the high protein concentration needed for systemic administration, which resulted in increased toxicity," the authors explain....

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