Drug Delivery in Mucosal Disease

​Research area overview 

Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) are two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting more than 300,000 people in the UK. These are chronic, disabling and progressive diseases, impacting every aspect of the affected individual's life and accounting for substantial costs to the health care system and society. Biologics have changed the management of IBD, but unexpected systemic toxicity remains a concern. In addition, biologics require administration by injections and are associated with high costs. Preventing inappropriate activation of intestinal mucosal immunity and inflammatory response is key to therapeutic intervention.

We are interested in new approaches for safe and effective control of inappropriate mucosal immunity and inflammatory response in IBD. This includes local (mucosal) delivery of biotherapeutics such as anti-TNFα antibodies and manipulation of the intestinal barrier, which is weakened in these conditions. Our drug delivery strategies include exploiting disease-induced changes of the gastrointestinal tissue, highlighted in the image below, to achieve targeted and local (mucosal) delivery of therapies, particularly biologics. 

Current projects

'Exosomes for non-invasive (mucosal) delivery of siRNA in Inflammatory Bowel Disease' 

Select relevant publications

  1. Vllasaliu D, et al. Basement membrane influences intestinal epithelial cell growth and presents a barrier to the movement of macromolecules. Exp Cell Res 2014, 323, (1):218-31.

  2. Vllasaliu D, et al. Barrier characteristics of epithelial cultures modelling the airway and intestinal mucosa: a comparison. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011, 415, (4):579-585.