With symptoms like fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, it can take days or even weeks to notice that your symptoms are affecting you, which makes them especially important when it comes to taking medication to help you stay healthy.
But that’s not the only problem with enteric fever: the disease can affect other parts of your body, too.
Enteric fever has been linked to allergies, obesity, and diabetes, and people with the disease have higher rates of certain types of cancer.
But there’s hope for those with the virus: researchers have developed a drug that can prevent enteric inflammation and improve health.
In a paper published in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers at the University of Utah and the University at Buffalo describe a new drug that targets enteric receptor proteins (ERPs) that can help fight the disease.
“We’re showing that there are many ways to treat enteric infections, and this new drug could be a major step toward a more effective treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael Sivak, who is also an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the university.
Sivak and his colleagues tested a new compound called BPA-11 (bisphenol-A) on mice with enterocarcinoma, a type of cancer that can cause inflammation in the intestines and other organs.
“We found that BPA blocks ERPs that are involved in inflammation, such as ERP-2 and ERP3, which is critical for the growth and survival of cancer cells,” Sivk said.
“We’re now developing an additional drug that blocks these ERPs and we expect that it could be available in the next few years.”
The researchers also found that the drug helped protect mice against enteric illness, and that it also prevented some cancers from growing in the mice.
They believe the drug could help control many types of infections, including cancer, and other cancers.
“Enteric fever is a very important cause of cancer and diabetes,” said co-senior author Dr. David W. Lohman, who was a postdoctoral researcher in Sivka’s lab and is now an associate research scientist at the company BioMeds.
“It’s a significant threat to our future.”
Sivka said he hopes the new drug can eventually help prevent millions of cases of enteric disease.
“I think it could really be the first step towards preventing millions of deaths,” Sivala said.
“The next step is to see if it also protects other cells and tissues.”
If it works, it could prove to be a huge boon for doctors and the people they treat, said Dr. Andrew B. Prentice, a professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and a member of the American Cancer Society’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
“Infection with enterococci can cause a wide variety of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and it’s an extremely costly problem,” Prentice said.
“We could see an increase in the number of treatments for enteric illnesses as a result.”
While the researchers were unable to determine whether the drug affected the human body in any way, they said it did appear to protect the mice against a form of cancer called non-small cell lung (NSCL-21).
“I hope this opens up the door to finding a way to get BPA out of the environment and into people’s bodies,” Siva said.
If the drug proves effective, it might not be the last time we see a new class of drugs designed to target ERPs.
In a paper in the April issue of Nature, researchers in Japan used the same method to develop a new, non-toxic form of antibiotic that also works against enterococcal infections.