Gastrointestinal (GI) Research Program

HBC signed a second research agreement with Stanford University 6 May 2020. The agreement is a continuation of an established research collaboration that has shown promising results. The research program will further investigate the GI-protective properties of SPH / ProGo® in children and adults with GI tract disorders.

A quest to improve infant health
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common and serious intestinal disease among premature babies.

It is a devastating disease that affects the intestine of premature infants. The wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, which cause local infection and inflammation that can ultimately destroy the wall of the bowel (intestine) leading to gastrointestinal perforation.

There have been no improvements in the outcome of research to treat this disease in recent years, but the understanding of the underlying process has greatly increased. The disease is caused by incomplete GI development, underlying pathological features and bacterial translocation.

Gene expression analyses are ongoing with previous study work showing a significant upregulation in genes associated with protection against oxidative stress.

Preliminary results: Prophylactic ProGo treatment resulted in a statistically significant protection against peroxide induced injury of the GI tract in neonatal mice (via fecal K8 protein biomarker).

Treatment of inflammation of digestive tract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis is a main form of IBD. This condition causes long-lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

Despite a number of advances in the treatment of IBD the latest years, a significant number of patients do not attain full remission and continue to suffer from the effects of IBD. Further, a number of patients would prefer to delay before escalating treatment to long term biologic therapy.

There is a stated need for well tolerated treatments, especially oral, which can help to attain and maintain remission for these patients.

Preliminary results: In proprietary animal models of GI inflammation, Stanford University’s work has shown SPH to markedly reduce gut inflammation. Oxidative stress is implicated as an important underlying driver of many digestive diseases, including IBD.