Ons 25 maj / År 40 / Nr 1 2022

Gothenburg-based research possibly part of the development of better treatments for IBS

At the Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Professor Magnus Simrén and his team of researchers are conducting advanced clinical studies in order to understand disturbances in the gastrointestinal system. By studying patients experiencing problems related to the functioning of the gastrointestinal system, Simrén’s group are aiming to uncover complex complications that usually remain unidentified by general medical practitioners despite extensive testing.

Magnus Simrén is stationed at the Department of Internal Medicine which is a part of the Institute of Medicine at University of Gothenburg. The department covers a wide area of research ranging from fundamental science to advanced clinical studies. Most laboratory facilities and clinical research units are located within the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, also ensuring a continuous supply of patients to support clinical research.

Available treatments modest despite high occurrence
Gastroenterology is one of many research areas at the Department of Internal Medicine. Common diseases within gastroenterology, affecting the gastrointestinal system are Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Gastritis. IBS is a common condition affecting approximately 15 per cent of the population. The illness is chronic and can take form after ordinary stomach flu.
Magnus Simrén gives a summary of the research: “We are looking to identify connections between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal system, to uncover knowledge of possible factors that lay behind common illnesses such as IBS. We are still not certain of where the disease comes from, why it occurs and develops in some individuals and not in others. The condition also differs from one affected individual to another. The available treatments are modest, but we hope to be a part of the development of better treatments and drugs in the near future as we continue to identify the various possible deviations of the disease”.

Knowledge from many disciplines vital
Pharmaceutical companies have traditionally been careful about developing treatments for IBS. One reason may be the uncertainty of possible side effects. IBS is not a terminal illness, and therefore interest has also been fairly modest.
“We are collaborating with research teams in for example France and the USA in our mission to increase a global pharmaceutical interest in developing drugs for treating IBS. We are a multidisciplinary team, just like our international partners. I think that in order to create understanding in the complex field in which we operate, knowledge generated from many different disciplines is vital”, Magnus Simrén concludes.