NIH fund research for Short Bowel Syndrome

pharmafile | March 18, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  

A Saint Louis University School of Medicine physician-scientist has received funding of $428,020, from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS).

Ajay Jain, MD, is professor of pediatrics, pharmacology, and physiology. This round of funding compliments Jain’s recent NIH grant for over $1,800,000, to comprehensively assess gut-systemic signaling, and the role of gut microbiota in preventing injury in Short Bowel Syndrome.

“There are no established treatment strategies for SBS, and patients suffer extensive morbidity and need intensive medical management, with many patients dying or requiring a multi-visceral transplant for survival,” Jain shared. “Thus, this remains a major research focus in gastroenterology and hepatology.

“There has been intense research in this area throughout the world and while several ideas have been proposed we wanted to ‘think outside the box.’”

Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which the body is unable to absorb enough nutrition from food, and there is an insufficient amount of small intestine. There are treatments available to manage the condition – however, no cure currently exists. The condition may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how well the small intestine is working.

The small intestine is an organ between the stomach and large intestine, and is where most ingested nutrients are absorbed into the body during digestion. Patients living with the disease often require intravenous nutrition, through Total Parenteral Nutrition. The process is complicated, and many living with SBS are dependent on it for life.

A significant number of patients with SBS are children, infants, and newborn babies. Symptoms of the condition include bloating, cramping, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Complications include malnutrition, peptic ulcers (sores on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the first and shortest section of the small intestine, caused by too much gastric acid), kidney stones, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Ana Ovey

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