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B. Uncovering The Possible Cause Of Colitis

Narrator: This is Science Today. New treatment may be on the way for colitis, a form of chronic inflammatory bowel disease that afflicts thousands each year. A group of international researchers led by Dr. Nigel Bunnett of the University of California, San Francisco, discovered colitis was up to five times worse when a certain enzyme called NEP was not around to break down a signaling chemical called substance P, which is involved in painful inflammation.

Bunnett: So when NEP is gone, substance P can continue to signal in an abnormal way and that causes an exaggerated inflammatory response which is worse and which is more prolonged than under normal circumstances.

Narrator: In the lab, colitis was prevented when this cycle was broken.

Bunnett: Theoretically, you could treat the colitis by giving people the NEP enzyme or by giving them substance P blockers which are bio-available and easy to synthesize and administer.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.