Why cure lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a common digestive condition characterized by the body's inability to fully process lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. This inability stems from a reduced or absent activity of the enzyme lactase, which is essential for converting lactose into simpler sugars.
When lactose isn't properly digested, it remains in the gut, where bacteria can find it and digest it themselves, producing gas and other bi-products, leading to various symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. To mitigate these symptoms, many affected individuals opt to exclude dairy from their diet. Currently there are no treatment options available which would target the cause of lactose intolerance such as gene therapy. Meanwhile lactase pill supplements are commonly used due to low pricing and accessibility. Lactase pill supplements are far less effective than a gene therapy solution since those only treat the symptoms, and having a varying effect among individuals, and are sensitive to timing, and dosing.
Lactose intolerance affects a significant portion of the global population. While there are various causes, a predominant form is genetically inherited. This genetic form is often referred to as primary lactose intolerance and arises due to a decrease in lactase enzyme production as an individual ages, a pattern that is determined by one's genes. There are several subtypes of primary lactose intolerance based on geographic and ethnic distributions. Our gene therapy is specifically designed for individuals with lactose intolerance that has genetic roots. By targeting the underlying genetic causes, we aim to offer a permanent solution for those who have inherited this condition.
Types of lactose intolerance
Two types of lactose intolerance with genetic roots, forming our focus groups for the development of our gene therapy treatment are primary lactose intolerance and Congenital Lactose Intolerance.
Primary lactose intolerance
This is the most common type and occurs due to a gradual decrease in lactase production with age, often starting after infancy.
Congenital lactose intolerance
This rare form occurs in babies born prematurely or with a genetic mutation that prevents them from producing lactase.
Meanwhile there are two other forms of lactose intolerance that are not caused by genetic reasons related to the lactase gene (LCT gene).
Secondary lactose intolerance
This type occurs after an illness, injury, or surgery involving the small intestine. Conditions like celiac disease or infections can reduce lactase production temporarily. It might improve once the underlying issue is treated.
Developmental lactose intolerance
Some premature babies have lower levels of lactase because their small intestine isn't fully developed. Most infants, however, improve as they get older.
Our gene therapy treatment can not be used to treat Secondary and Developmental Lactose Intolerance.
Living with lactose intolerance
Roughly 65% of the world's population (5.2 billion people) lives with lactose intolerance. This condition has various subtypes and the severity of symptoms varies across the lactose intolerant population. The biggest fraction of lactose intolerant individuals have primary lactose intolerance which has genetic roots, characterized by a decreasing lactase enzyme production as the person ages. Around the age 20 or above, primary lactose intolerance can lead to a state where the affected person has small to zero lactase enzyme production, leading to severe, reoccurring symptoms when posed to milk sugar. The symptoms and feeling of uncertainty usually manifests in strict dietary limitations and avoidance of social activities such as dining out, or traveling.
Challenges in Managing Lactose Intolerance
Although lactose-free products are becoming more widely available, finding them can still be a challenge. The limited availability of lactose-free alternatives may lead to frustration and a feeling of being deprived of the food you once enjoyed.
One of the essential skills for managing lactose intolerance is reading food labels. It can be tedious and time-consuming to search for hidden sources of lactose in various products, but it's crucial for avoiding unwanted symptoms.
Traveling can be particularly challenging for those with lactose intolerance. The unfamiliarity of local cuisines, language barriers, and limited access to lactose-free options can make vacations stressful and less enjoyable.
Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet while avoiding lactose can be difficult. It's essential to ensure you're getting adequate nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, which are commonly found in dairy products.
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Our commitment in eradicating lactose intolerance is fueled by a dedicated team of experts who bring diverse skills. We invite you to join us in this journey, whether you have questions, ideas, or simply wish to connect. Let's work together towards a healthier future.Partner with us
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