U. Arizona team looks to bring GI delivery vehicle to market

Researchers Dr. Fayez Ghishan, Eugene Mash and Pawel Kiela--Courtesy of UA

A team of researchers at the University of Arizona have developed and are looking to commercialize a drug delivery system designed to treat inflammation and ulcerations in the colon. The "molecular truck" delivers the drug 5-aminosalicylic acid to the colon, where it can treat diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's.

For children in particular with ulcerative colitis, the available medications can be difficult to swallow as they come in the form of large tablets or capsules. The current drugs also come with a host of undesirable side effects that the team claims they have mitigated with their new tech.

Before conceiving the delivery method, lead researcher Eugene Mash had developed a contrasting agent to seek out damaged tissue in the GI tract. Mash figured the design could also be used to deliver drugs there and reappropriated it for that purpose.

"Since our new drug can be delivered in more palatable forms, it has the potential to increase patient compliance and advance IBD treatment for infants and children," co-author Fayez Ghishan, a pediatric gastroenterologist, said in a statement. "Our next area of research is to focus delivery of the drug to specific regions of the colon damaged by inflammation. This should lower the drug dosage necessary to achieve the desired outcome."

Now, the team is working with UA-created commercialization project Tech Launch Arizona to bring the intellectual property to the market. The tech is currently patent-pending, and the group is looking to secure investors and funding to move it forward.

- here's the University of Arizona report