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Research promises better diarrhoea treatments

New Irish research has helped uncover potential new treatments for a range of intestinal diseases associated with diarrhoea.

According to Dr Stephen Keely, senior author on the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) study, diarrhoea-associated intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn's disease are a major health issue in Ireland.

He said it is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 people visit their local gastroenterology clinic each year seeking treatment for diarrhoea.

Dr Keely said current treatments for intestinal diseases are not targeted specifically enough and as a result can be ineffective or have serious side effects.

"Working with researchers at UCD and TCD, we have discovered that a type of protein known as hydroxylases plays a key role in regulating water and salt transport in the intestines."

Dr Keely said the study suggests that by inhibiting the activity of these proteins, diarrhoea can be prevented.

"The discovery gives us  a promising new target for the development of drugs to treat intestinal diseases that have diarrhoea as a primary symptom"

"Because such drugs would act directly on the cells responsible for controlling water movement in the intestine, they would potentially have better outcomes and reduced side effects for patients", Dr Keely said.

The study was conducted by Dr Keely with Dr Karen Lawler and Joseph ward at the RCSI, along with researchers at TCD and UCD.

The research is published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal.

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[Posted: Mon 29/11/2010]

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