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Using Bacteria for Gut Health Improvement and Weight Management

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method of using bacteriocin peptides to reduce gut inflammation, improve gut barrier function, and reduce obesity in humans.

Phage-Mediated Delivery Of Genes To The Gut Microbiota

UCSF researchers have developed a novel method of manipulating the gut microbiome via delivery of bacteriophages to selectively remove or modify members of an existing microbial community. 

Novel Biomarker For GI Diseases

UCLA researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine have discovered a small antimicrobial peptide elafin to be used as a biomarker for evaluating inflammatory bowel disease activity and the development of intestinal fibrosis.

Prevention Of The Late Complications Of Acute Pancreatitis

UCLA researchers in the Department of Medicine and Surgery have developed a novel therapeutic for the prevention of late inflammatory complications in severe acute pancreatitis patients.

“Polyp-Print”: A Methodology To Identify Which Colon Polyps Are Likely To Proceed To Colorectal Cancers

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women combined in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Every day, patients undergo routine screening colonoscopies around the world for assessment of their risk of CRC. CRCs always arise from precursor lesions, called polyps. Since most patients with polyps are asymptomatic, tracking these lesions through fecal occult blood, rectosigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy enables the suspicion, detection and removal of the lesion. Since 2000, colonoscopy has become the most important examination to track polyps and CRC. Nowadays, in the USA, one out of four colonoscopies aim to track polyps. Besides detecting polyps, their removal through endoscopic polypectomy has proved to be effective to reduce the incidence of this tumor. Anatomopathological analysis enables the histological classification of adenomas, and also allows checking for dysplasia or neoplasm, as well as vascular and/or lymphatic invasion. This assessment determines if polypectomy and/or mucosectomy were effective to heal the patient who presented with polyp or CRC, or if therapeutics will be necessary. Typically, screening colonoscopies begin at age 50, and are done every 10 years. If polyps are encountered, based on their size and number and location, the risk is determined to be high vs low (completely arbitrarily, with no molecular basis at all). Bottomline, right now, there is no way to tell which polyp will become a cancer and which will not. Hence, some patients may be receiving over Rx and some may be under Rx. Clearly, what is needed is an invention that can predict the timing and consequences of multiple host events during CRC initiation and progression.

Methods To Regulate Colonization Of Select Bacteria Of The Microbiome

UCLA researchers in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology have identified a novel function of serotonin in regulating colonization of select bacterial species in the gut microbiome, and have identified specific bacteria that may modulate host intestinal lipid and steroid metabolism.

Methods of Discovering New Bile Acids and Use in Treating Inflammatory Diseases

A mosaic of cross-phyla chemical interactions occurs between all metazoans and their microbiomes. In humans, the gut harbors the heaviest microbial load, but many organs, particularly those with a mucosal surface, associate with highly adapted and evolved microbial consortia. The microbial residents within these organ systems are increasingly well characterized, yielding a good understanding of human microbiome composition. However, we have yet to elucidate the full chemical impact the microbiome exerts on an animal and the breadth of the chemical diversity it contributes. A number of molecular families are known to be shaped by the microbiome including short-chain fatty acids, indoles, aromatic amino acid metabolites, complex polysaccharides, and host sphingolipids and bile acids. These metabolites profoundly affect host physiology and are being explored for their roles in both health and disease. The synthesis of bile acids takes place in the liver and recent research has shown that bile acids can act as signaling molecules and activate a number of molecules. A primary focus has been on the Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) which plays an important role in bile acid synthesis and in regulation of glucose, lipid and energy metabolism.

Prediction Tools for Vedolizumab Drug Exposure and Efficacy for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease

Vedolizumab (VDZ) is an effective therapy for the management of patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD) who have failed conventional therapy with aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and thiopurines, as well as biologic therapy with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists. Several studies have identified potential predictors of treatment outcomes; however, the optimal approach to integrating predictors into routine practice is uncertain.No prior decision support tools exist to predict VDZ drug exposure in UC and CD and link this back to differences in effectiveness or response to VDZ dose escalation. By having a tool that can predict at baseline prior to start of therapy whether VDZ will be effective and what a patients drug exposure profile will be with VDZ, the provider can 1) determine if VDZ is an appropriate therapy to begin, 2) proactively monitor those patients deemed high risk for treatment failure with VDZ, and 3) proactively measure drug concentrations for VDZ to then increase the dose or the interval at which VDZ is administered to improve outcomes.

Epigenetic Profile-Based Biomarkers for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

UCLA researchers from the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases have discovered an innovative approach to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. This method uses a set of epigenetic profiles as biomarkers and is highly sensitive compared to conventional diagnostic methodologies.

Flexible Stretchable Electrode And Recording Method For Gastrointestinal Prostheses

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering and Surgery have developed an electrode for stimulation and recording of intestinal peristalsis that uses a novel impedance-based sensing method.

Novel Small Molecule Drug for the Treatment of Constipation and Oxalate Kidney Stones

UCSF researchers have developed a novel small molecule drug that specifically targets and inhibits SLC26A3 (DRA), an anion exchanger whose inhibition is expected to have therapeutic benefit in constipation and oxalate kidney stone disease.

Potent TMEM16A Small Molecule Treatment for Inflammatory and Reactive Airway Diseases, Asthma, Hypertension, Pain and Cancer

A novel class of 2-acylamino-cycloalkylthiophene-3-carboxylic acid arylamides (AACTs) as potent TMEM16A inhibitors

Functional Manipulation of the Gut Microbiome Using a Personalized Approach

The use of traditional probiotic microorganisms to provide therapeutic function for the gut microbiome has a number of limitations. Probiotic bacteria do not colonize the gut because they can’t compete with the resident flora that have evolved for that environment. Current probiotics are a single strain which when used in multiple hosts have not had great success in broad populations and are therefore unpredictable. To alleviate the above problem, a new approach is necessary to colonize the human gastrointestinal tract with greater reliability and for therapeutic value to the patient. 

Breast Milk as a Source, Incubation/Storage Medium, and Delivery System for Infant Mucosal Immunity Bacteriophage

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to harvest and enrich symbiotic bacteriophage to promote bacterial immunity.

Test for Intestinal Permeability

Researchers from the Department of General Surgery at UCLA have developed an easy-to-use method to determine intestinal permeability that utilizes an FDA-approved non-absorbable dye.

A Method For Screening Drugs, Nutritional Supplements And Probiotics For Their Ability To Enhance Or Disrupt The Gut Barrier

The gut is a complex environment; the gut mucosa maintains immune homeostasis under physiological circumstances by serving as a barrier that restricts access of trillions of microbes, diverse microbial products, food antigens and toxins to the largest immune system in the body. The gut barrier is comprised of a single layer of epithelial cells, bound by cell-cell junctions, and a layer of mucin that covers the epithelium. Loosening of the junctions induced either by exogenous or endogenous stressors, compromises the gut barrier and allows microbes and antigens to leak through and encounter the host immune system, thereby generating inflammation and systemic endotoxemia. An impaired gut barrier (e.g. a leaky gut) is a major contributor to the initiation and/or progression of various chronic diseases including, but not limited to, metabolic endotoxemia, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity, atherosclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Despite the growing acceptance of the importance of the gut barrier in diseases, knowledge of the underlying mechanism(s) that reinforce the barrier when faced with stressors is incomplete, and viable and practical strategies for pharmacologic modulation of the gut barrier remain unrealized.

A Novel Method to Generate Specific and Permanent Macromolecular Covalent Inhibitors

UCSF researchers have invented a novel method to generate covalent macromolecular inhibitors. This strategy allows a peptide inhibitor to bind to its target protein specifically and irreversibly through proximity-enabled bioreactivity.

Simple and Rapid Method for the Quantification of Haloginated Dissaccharides (i.e. Sucralose) in an Aqueous Media

Sucralose is widely used as an artificial sweetener because of its low caloric content and is sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). Due to its resistance to metabolic degradation, sucralose can also be used as a marker for noninvasively evaluating the gastrointestinal small digestive tract (intestine) or colonic permeability. This urinary marker is traditionally analyzed by time consuming and expensive methods, such as high performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) or evaporative light scatter as the detectors. UCSC researchers have developed an alternative method using a chemical-fluorescent technique for rapid analysis of halogenated disaccharides, such as sucralose.

Novel Methods to Prevent and Treat Liver and Colon Cancer

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to treat liver and colon cancer using natural or synthetic retinoids in combination with histone deacetylase inhibitors.

UCLA Inventors Identify Specific Molecular Diagnostic Markers For Ulcerative Colitis

UCLA researchers in the Division of Digestive Disease in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, led by Drs. Charalabos Pothoulakis and Dimitrios Iliopoulos, have identified several biomolecules that are potential diagnostic markers for ulcerative colitis. These markers can be used singularly or combined, depending on the diagnostic testing need. There is increased flexibility for testing as a positive correlation is related to increased marker levels or the presence of the molecule, depending on the biomarker. Researchers have also identified a marker that can distinguish ulcerative colitis from Crohn’s Disease.

New Indication for Use of Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) for Treatment, Prevention and Reversal of Fatty Liver Disease

Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a health problem that affects approximately 30% of the population, and the up to 75% of people afflicted with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Currently, no therapeutic agent for the prevention or treatment of fatty liver disease exists. Researchers at UC Irvine have developed a strategy that suggests treatment for fatty liver disease and/or NAFLD using niacin and/or its metabolites.

Gluten Digesting Bacterial Strains

Over the last few years Celiac disease and gluten intolerance has been on the rise. Currently, the only treatment is a gluten free diet, which is very difficult to follow. Cross contamination of gluten free products is common and many food items that seemingly contain no wheat contain gluten-derived products. Here we describe several bacterial strains isolated from humans for their gluten degrading activities. These bacteria may be used to eliminate trace amounts of wheat contaminants from gluten free products or as probiotic therapy.

Novel ELISA assay to detect SULF2 in patient samples

This ELISA technique detects Sulfatase2 (SULF2), an extracellular heparan sulfate-degrading enzyme that is overexpressed in many cancers. Furthermore, this technique can potentially serve as a diagnostic for cirrhosis.

Mouse Model for Human Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis and Steatolic Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Currently, there are no good mouse models to study the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and its progression to steatolic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in less than one year. While there are other models of NASH in mice, none of the currently available models closely mimics the human disease and most are models of toxic liver damage associated with weight loss rather than obesity. 

Methods of Quantitation and Display of Impedance Data for Estimating Gastroenterology Tract Parameters

Current methodology typically measures both pressure and impedance usingsensors spread over the entire length of the esophagus. Impedance is used to provide a quantitative temporal measure of the advance of bolus in the esophagus, but it does not provide a quantitative measure of the extent of esophageal cross-sectional area or segmental volume.

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