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Lactococcus lactis, A Tool for the Delivery of Therapeutic Proteins Treatment of IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases that consists of ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammation of the large intestine, and Crohn�s disease (CD), which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. IBD affects approximately 1 in every 1000 individuals in western countries. There is a marked tendency in the age of onset toward gradually younger people. IBD represents a genuine problem in public health because of the absence of etiologic treatment. The clinical image is characterized by recurrent segmental or total inflammatory involvement of the large and/or small intestine, often resulting in a chronic, unpredictable course. The symptoms of both are extremely unpleasant and impact all aspects of quality of life. They include diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever, nausea, weight loss, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If left untreated, malnutrition, dehydration, and anemia follow, which, in extreme cases, can even lead to death. Although many patients are managed successfully with conventional medical therapy, such as anti-inflammatory corticosteroid treatment, some stay refractory to treatment, most will have recurrent activity of disease, and two thirds will require surgery. Administered orally or by injection, only a fraction of the active components of most conventional drugs reaches the intended target site, the inflamed intestinal lining. This is not only an inefficient way to deliver drugs, but, more important, means that patients are often subject to a spectrum of unpleasant side effects that result from the high levels of the drugs in other, otherwise healthy tissues and organs of the body.