New enzymatic target found for targeted treatment of intestinal inflammation

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Kristina Lechner
FAU research team investigates blockade of pro-inflammatory substance

When the immune system turns against one’s own intestine, chronic inflammation occurs, which is accompanied by great suffering on the part of the affected patients. A research team from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), together with researchers from the USA and France, has explored a new treatment path and found a new therapeutic approach. The results were published in the scientific journal “Gastroenterology “*.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that leads to diarrhoea, intestinal bleeding and seizures. It is usually triggered by an exaggerated immune response. As part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1181 “Switching Points for the Resolution of Inflammation”, FAU scientists led by Prof. Dr. Markus Neurath, Chair of Internal Medicine I and Director of Medical Clinic 1 – Gastroenterology, Pneumology and Endocrinology, and PD Dr. Dr. Benno Weigmann found out that by specifically blocking the enzyme ITK in ulcerative colitis, the production of inflammation-causing cytokines by T cells can be prevented and an inflammatory reaction can be stopped. “Our experimental analyses regarding the enzyme ITK have shown that a targeted blockade of this enzyme with inhibitors or siRNA is effective in the treatment of murine chronic intestinal inflammation and would thus be conceivable as an attractive form of therapy in humans in the future “, says Kristina Lechner, PhD student in Dr. Weigmann’s research group.

In SFB 1181 “Switching points for the resolution of inflammation” at FAU, scientists from different fields of medicine and biology are tracking down the fundamental mechanisms of the resolution of the inflammatory response and testing them for their clinical significance.

*Original publication:

“Targeting of the Tec kinase ITK drives resolution of T cell-mediated colitis and emerges as potential therapeutic option in ulcerative colitis”


Further information:

Prof. Dr. Markus Neurath

Chair of Internal Medicine I

Tel.: 09131/85-35204