Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Discovery can make it possible to take more drugs orally


Many drugs cannot be administered orally since they cannot be taken up by the intestines. All attempts to solve this problem have thus far resulted in unacceptable risks of side-effects, mainly because the intestinal wall is so severely impacted that not only the drug but other substances, including toxins, can be absorbed. Now a team of scientists from Uppsala University in Sweden have made a major discovery that may solve the problem.

The intestinal wall functions as an effective obstacle to keep various substances from passing from the intestine out into the body. Some drugs, like antibiotics, can use the transport canals that exist, while other important medicines cannot. The porosity of the intestinal wall is determined by a sort of “filter,” so-called “tight junctions,” consisting mainly of two types of proteins: claudins and occludins. Each such protein molecule interacts with a corresponding molecule in the adjacent cell by a loop-shaped bond consisting of peptides. To let more substances pass through, it’s necessary to temporarily increase the porosity of the filter--without damaging the cell. Thus far research has been directed toward changing the porosity via the claudins, which are more dynamic and changeable, but this has always brought with it undesired and irreversible effects that increase the risk of cell damage.

Instead, the Uppsala scientists, led by Professor Per Artursson, have focused on the other protein: the occludins, which are more static proteins. Experiments have been carried out on cells and have yet to be applied to living organisms. They synthesized peptides that correspond to different sequences in the loop that joins the canal between two cells. One of these peptides proved to increase the porosity of the intestinal wall when it was coupled with occludin molecules, but only from one side of the wall. From the other side, corresponding to the one from the intestine out into the body, the molecules proved to lump together or to be destroyed by enzymes before they had time to affect the filter. But the research team went one step further. By adding a fatty acid as a shield for the peptide part, they managed to increase the porosity from the other side as well. What’s more, the scientists succeeded in guiding the effect on the intestinal wall, from rapid and short to a longer lasting impact.

The editorial in the December issue of the prestigious journal Molecular Pharmacology, written by Kim E. Barett of the University of California, commends the findings of the Uppsala team, stating that the discovery “seems likely to allow for the oral delivery of a wide variety of agents for which this previously was not possible, and thus the development of new and more effective therapeutic options for a wide range of human diseases.”

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>