Multi-functional anti-inflammatory/anti-allergic developed

A synthetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic family of drugs to combat a variety of illnesses while avoiding detrimental side effects has been developed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher.

The researcher is Saul Yedgar, who is the Walter and Greta Stiel Professor of Heart Studies at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine.

Inflammatory/allergic diseases affect billions of people worldwide, and treatments for these conditions are a major focus of the pharmaceutical industry. The most common drugs currently used to treat these numerous diseases are steroids, which are potent but are associated with severe side effects. These include metabolic changes (weight gain, increased blood pressure, diabetes), organ-specific effects (glaucoma, cataracts, bone fragility), and even psychotrophic side effects (depression, psychosis).

For decades, alternatives, such as biological NSAIDs (non-steroidal alternative anti-inflammatory drugs) have been the focus of the pharmaceutical industry. The resulting drugs have been commercially successful, but have not produced genuine alternatives to steroids due to their limitations. Synthetic NSAIDs are less potent and have their own serious side effects, including cardiovascular disorders, stomach bleeding and respiratory disorders. The biological drugs are costly and, must be injected and have rare but very severe side effects.

Inflammatory/ present different symptoms affecting different organs, such as skin inflammations (dermatitis, psoriasis); airway injury and allergy (asthma, cystic fibrosis, ); osteoarthritis and ; (, Crohn's disease); inflammation (multiple sclerosis), as well as atherosclerosis and .

What they have in common is that all of them share . A key one among them is the action of an (PLA2) that initiates the production of a cascade of pro-inflammatory mediators involved in the induction and propagation of the diverse inflammatory diseases.

In Prof. Yedgar's lab at the Hebrew University, he and his associates have designed and constructed an entirely novel synthetic generation of drugs that control the PLA activity and the subsequent cascade of pro-inflammatory mediators, thereby providing multi-functional, anti-inflammatory drugs (MFAIDs).

MFAIDs have shown excellent safety and were found efficient in treating diverse inflammatory/allergic conditions in animal models, using different ways of administration – oral, rectal, intravenous, inhaled and injected. These conditions included sepsis, inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma and central nervous system inflammation.

In particular, in two clinical studies MFAIDs have been shown to be safe and efficient in treating contact dermatitis, when incorporated into skin cream, and allergic rhinitis, when administered as a nasal spray.

This platform technology has been exclusively licensed from the Hebrew University through the university's Yissum Technology Transfer Company to Morria Biopharmaceuticals PLC (a British company), which is currently developing these drugs to treat inflammatory diseases of the airways (hay-fever, ), the skin (eczema), the eye (conjunctivitis) and the gut (colitis, Crohn's disease).

For his groundbreaking work, Prof. Yedgar was one of the winners of this year's Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University. The Kaye Awards have been given annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society. The awards were presented this year during the annual meeting of the Hebrew University Board of Governors.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Knockout' technique tested successfully on mice

Jun 27, 2007

Allergies, like the common cold and asthma, have basically defied the best efforts of modern medicine to cure them. Now, a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy has come ...

The quest for specific anti-inflammatory treatment

Jan 08, 2009

Anti-inflammatory drugs affect the cells taking part in inflammatory processes, but also those that do not. This is why it is important to develop specific anti-inflammatory drugs which affect healthy cells. With this aim ...

Collagen manufactured from transgenic tobacco plants

Jun 10, 2010

A scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has succeeded in producing a replica of human collagen from tobacco plants - an achievement with tremendous ...

Recommended for you

A better biomonitor for children with asthma

Dec 10, 2014

For the firefighters and rescue workers conducting the rescue and cleanup operations at Ground Zero from September 2001 to May 2002, exposure to hazardous airborne particles led to a disturbing "WTC cough"—obstructed ...

New insight into risk of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Dec 09, 2014

Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered variations in an enzyme belonging to the immune system that leaves individuals susceptible to Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Novel approach to treating asthma: Neutralize the trigger

Dec 03, 2014

Current asthma treatments can alleviate wheezing, coughing and other symptoms felt by millions of Americans every year, but they don't get to the root cause of the condition. Now, for the first time, scientists ...

Inflammatory discovery sheds new light on skin disease

Dec 02, 2014

Inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis may result from abnormal activation of cell death pathways previously believed to suppress inflammation, a surprise finding that could help to develop new ways ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.