The UC San Diego bioengineers have described aspects of autodigestion, as well as the potential for stopping it (and treating shock) by blocking the powerful digestive enzymes that have breached the intestine barrier, in numerous papers in the scientific literature.
This research has the potential to lead to therapies that greatly reduce fatalities, morbidity, and length of stay in intensive care units in patients undergoing various forms of shock.
"Organisms rely on full containment of the digestive enzymes in the small intestine. The moment the intestinal mucosal barrier is compromised, the digestive enzymes escape and then we are no longer digesting just our food, but we may be digesting our organs," said Schmid-Schnbein.
A Phase 2 clinical pilot study is under way to test the efficacy and safety of a new method of administering an enzyme inhibitor for critically ill patients such as those with new-onset sepsis and septic shock, post-operative complications, and new-onset gastrointestinal bleeding.
In addition, a published clinical report points to successful treatment of a patient with severe septic shock with digestive enzyme inhibitors delivered directly into the intestine.
In shock, there is a major failure of the mucosal barrier in the small intestine. There may also be other conditions in which the failure of this barrier is less severe, and digestive enzymes leak more slowly into the blood stream. The effect on human health of slow leakage of digestive enzymes into the body with low level of autodigestion remains to be explored, Schmid-Schnbein exp
|Contact: Catherine Hockmuth|
University of California - San Diego