The treatment of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis often involves lifelong injections.
However, fear of needles, infection associated with injections, and pain can cause many patients to escape treatment.
Scientists have been also exploring new ways to deliver the drug.
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists have proposed a new approach to the oral treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Previous work by the research team showed that a peptide derived from sea anemone toxin was effective and safe in reducing the severity of rheumatoid arthritis in rats with plaque psoriasis.
It’s just that repeated injections can reduce patient compliance and the efficacy of oral peptides is lower.
This time, the scientists used a probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri.
as a platform for oral drug delivery to test the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in an animal model.
Lactobacillus royale is a bacterium inherent in human and other animal guts and has long been used in the food industry.
Researchers genetically engineered this bacterium to secrete ShK-235, a peptide found in sea anemone toxin.
Scientists found that giving healthy rats oral doses of this bacterium once a day allowed the rats to have enough ShK-235 peptide in circulation.
It reduces inflammation in a model of delayed hypersensitivity.
In addition, daily oral administration of the bacteria also significantly reduced joint inflammation, cartilage destruction and bone damage in rheumatoid arthritis rats, among others.
There is still more research to be done if this method of drug delivery is to be brought to the clinical stage, but scientists expect it to be able to help more patients in the future.