In the past, patients with short bowel syndrome (SBS) were treated with teduglutide, a daily injection. However, injections can be painful, difficult to administer, and unfortunately not as targeted. Now, Entera Bio Ltd. (“Entera”), who works to create orally-administered large molecule therapeutics, is working to change the field. In a press release on BioMedReports, Entera announced the launch of a new research program. The program will study an oral glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) analog as a potential treatment for patients with SBS.
An article published in Scientific Reports describes GLP-2 as:
an intestinotrophic hormone, secreted by enteroendocrine L cells of the intestinal epithelium. It has been shown to increase epithelial proliferation, inhibit apoptosis, enhance barrier function, and increase digestion, absorption, and blood flow.
In short, this peptide helps allow for the intestine to absorb more nutrients. So far, preclinical studies have shown the oral formulation to be just as safe and effective as the current injectable therapy. Additionally, the oral model allows for better targeting, getting the medicine closer to where it needs to go. Researchers also believe that peptides like GLP-2 could be used to treat other conditions.
Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)
Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a malabsorption disorder which causes the inability to absorb enough nutrients or water from the foods eaten. Typically, SBS is caused by either a birth defect, or partial or full removal of the small intestine due to injury, chemotherapy, or other conditions such as cancer or Crohn’s disease. Usually, we have around 20+ feet of small intestine. When part of this is damaged or removed, we experience negative health effects.
Signs and symptoms may vary, especially in severity. Symptoms include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Unintended weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cramping, bloating, and excessive gas
- Food intolerances
- Muscle cramping and spasms
- Easy bruising
- Gallstones and kidney stones
- Bone pain and osteoporosis
- Fatty liver
- Foul-smelling stool