Dr. Anthony Blikslager, professor of surgery and gastroenterology at the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine has uncovered a novel function for a protein called chloride channel protein 2 (ClC-2) that may prove to be beneficial for the recovery of injured gastrointestinal tracts in animals and people.
An internationally-recognized expert in the field of gastrointestinal health, Dr. Blikslager identified chloride channel protein 2 as the source of gastrointestinal recovery after discovering that intestinal chloride secretion occurred immediately prior to the recovery process after problems such as excessive stomach acid or low blood flow, which occurs when the intestine twists.
Dr. Blikslager, whose investigation was initially supported by the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture, presented the ClC-2 research before physicians and researchers at Digestive Disease Week, the largest gastroenterology meeting in the world. Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Incorporated became interested in the discovery, and Dr. Blikslager’s team shared additional information on a newly developed group of compounds called prostones that can activate ClC-2 and speed up repair of the gastrointestinal tract. NC State patented this discovery in partnership with Sucampo and research continues with funding from Sucampo.
Recent findings show that ClC-2 may be responsible for re-assembling the connections between injured cells from the gut. The ongoing investigation attracts international attention and has been published in respected journals such as Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Blikslager has presented ClC-2 updates at scientific conferences around the world, including the International Union of Physiological Sciences meeting in Kyoto, Japan.
The C1C2 research is another demonstration of the “bench to bedside” concept—how basic science performed at NC State and entrepreneurial collaboration may lead advances in human medicine.