Epimac, new epigenetic medicine for IBD
Epigenetic marks on the DNA are critical in regulating gene expression, and allow cells to differentiate and respond to environmental stimuli. The importance of these epigenetic marks in inflammation and cancer is evident, and molecules have been newly developed to intervene with these marks (Nicodeme et al., Ntziachristos et al.). Such compounds turn out to have extremely anti-cytokine effects in macrophages, DCs and monocytes, as their target cells (Nicodeme et al, Kruidenier et al).
In this project we aim to establish epigenetic marks in inflammatory cells in the inflamed colon mucosa, and intervene with these marks to reduce inflammation in IBD. Epigenetic marks have very cell-specific effects, so targeting specific immune cells here is critical for a viable therapy. Therefore we use technology from an SME Chroma Therapeutics that is based on the use of an esterase-sensitive chemical motif (ESM) that is selectively hydrolysed within tissue monocytes to a charged, pharmacologically extremely potent anti-cytokine.