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.