The people at Pennington Biomedical Research (Part of LSU) are doing studies on why the GI system shuts down and reject nutrition...for instance creating nausea and the like. This is all very interesting since of course, I as the tummy troubled one have my issues with nausea. I think also if they can solve all these mysteries, the research could lead to treatments for IBD as well as other GI problems. (YAY!)
It seems that the immune system uses a protein called TNR to fight disease, in part by causing normal GI function to stop, all well and good until it goes a bit overboard.
Thalidomide blocks TNR, however, that isn't really a great drug for a number of reasons, primarily really bad birth defects related to its use in the 1950s.