Acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammatory disorder of the pancreas, is the leading cause of hospitalization for gastrointestinal diseases. Up to 20% of patients develop acute necrotizing pancreatitis (ANP), the more aggressive form, which is associated with local and systemic complications. These systemic complications are the cause of the substantial morbidity and mortality rates in ANP, especially for the lung injury that accounts for 60% of all deaths within the first week.
At present, there is no specific medical treatment for ANP. The management of the disease is mainly supportive and targeted to prevent and treat systemic complications.
Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are non-immunogenic, non-toxic and watersoluble polymers. These properties render the polymer ideally suited for biological applications.
PEG of 35-kDa molecular weight (PEG35) has been tested in vivo in an experimental model of ANP in rats. Its prophylactic administration abrogated ANP-associated local and systemic inflammatory process. Notably, therapeutic treatment directly lowered the lung injury regardless of the pancreatic lesion.
The Spanish research group, with a broad experience in experimental pathology, is searching for a pharmaceutical company interested in the development and commercialization of PEG35 for ANP treatment, under a license agreement. Preclinical and clinical development would be required. The Spanish research center could collaborate with the company in that project.