Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Scientists at The University of Nottingham are investigating whether stem cell markers could have a role to play in speeding up wound healing in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease's (IBD) such as Crohn's Disease.
The study could eventually lead to the development of new drugs which use natural molecules to spark the recovery of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis and Chron's disease, reducing their risk of associated complications such as scarring, bowel obstructions and tumour growth.
Funded with a 118,500 grant from the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (NACC), the two-year project is being led by Professor Mohammad Ilyas in the University's Division of Pathology.
He said: "The study will focus on the molecule CD24 which is a stem cell marker and which plays a key role in cell proliferation and the migration of healthy cells to a damaged area to restore normal tissue.
"CD24 is a small molecule attached to the cell membrane which has been recently reported as a marker of stem cells in the colon. It occurred to us that CD24 might have a role to play in IBD and during further studies we found that it was indeed present in sections of diseased bowel."
IBD affects around one in 400 people in the UK. Common symptoms include inflammation and ulceration of the intestine and colon, pain, severe diarrhoea, tiredness and weight loss. The cause of the disease is yet to be definitively identified, although scientists believe it could be due to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Currently, there is no cure and patients manage their condition with a mixture of lifestyle changes, anti-inflammatory drugs and, in severe cases, surgery.
Professor Ilyas added: "The power of the gut to heal the damage caused by acute episodes of inflammation is remarkable and frequently the gut lining reverts to normal. Anti-inflammatory drugs help this process along and allow the wound healing to begin earlier than it would naturally.
"In the future, it may be possible to use a variety of therapies (possibly including gene therapy) to manipulate the expression of the CD24 molecules on cells to promote even more rapid healing. This may mean less scarring, bowel obstruction and fistulation and less chance of developing tumours resulting from persistent inflammation. As a result of this, it may also reduce the chance of needing surgery further down the line."
In the early stages of the project, the pathologists will be using cell lines in the lab to study CD24 at a cellular and molecular level to discover the mechanisms by which it operates and encourages cell migration and other associated molecules that are co-expressed.
They will then examine diseased IBD tissue to establish whether what they have observed in the lab is occurring in reality.
It is hoped the findings will lead to further clinical work to look at the possible benefits of CD24 in allowing IBD patients to more effectively manage their disease.
The CEO of NACC, Richard Driscoll, explains, "Since 1984, NACC members have raised over 4.5 million and more than 100 research awards have been made to hospitals and universities throughout the United Kingdom. This year our Medical Research Committee selected three studies to receive NACC research awards which we hope will contribute to finding improved treatments and ultimately a cure for IBD. We welcome Professor Ilyas' work on CD24 in seeking a better understanding of the gut healing process and how it may be enhanced in inflammatory bowel disease."
Monday, April 20, 2009
Interesting Research from New Zealend Regarding the Spice Turmeric. Anyone tried Turmeric for Crohn's?
The spice turmeric might be the magic ingredient to bring relief to people suffering from irritable bowel disease.
Researchers at Nutrigenomics New Zealand have found that curcumin, the major yellow component of the turmeric spice, reduces inflammation for those suffering from irritable bowels.
They said the discovery could help in the development of diet-based treatments for people suffering from the disease.
The results of the study were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
"Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel, can be aggravated or relieved by the sufferer's diet," Plant and Food Research researcher Christine Butts said.
"However, due to the number of genes involved, different people with different disease genotypes can be affected by different foods, so there isn't a `one size fits all' solution.
"Only by systematically linking particular components to effects on the specific genotype can we get a true understanding of the disease and how to treat it."
The finding could mean some people with Crohn's disease might benefit from eating turmeric, but it was dependent on their genetic makeup, Ms Butts (HAHA, - Scottie) said.
"Others may not get any benefit, or may even have a severe reaction. However, we are one step closer to understanding this disease and how to best control it with diet."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Ladies - Found this article that contains freat info for women as it relates to Crohn's Disease and pregnacy. Good info on what meds to avoid while pregnant with Crohn's as well as other potential risks.
CHROHN'S AND PREGNANCY: In the past, women with Crohn's were counseled against pregnancy. However, current medical management strategies have made childbearing safer for both mother and baby. Some medications are best avoided during pregnancy, but others are considered safe because of their long history of safe use by patients.
Resarch studies have shown that some drugs commonly used for both maintenance therapy and acute flare-ups of Crohn's are safe for pregnant women to use. They include sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), forms of mesalamine (Asacol, Pentasa, Rowasa) and corticosteroids (Prednisone). Other drugs like azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia) and infliximab (Remicade) appear to be safe to take during pregnancy.
Methotrexate and thalidomide are two immunosuppressive drugs that should not be used during pregnancy as they have an effect on an unborn child. Methotrexate can cause abortion and skeletal abnormalities, and it should be discontinued at least three months before conception. Thalidomide is well known for causing limb defects as well as other major organ complications in a fetus.
The severity of Crohn's symptoms that are present at conception often continue throughout pregnancy. Women are encouraged to get their disease under control and in remission before conception. They can also get their bodies prepared for a pregnancy by increasing intake of folic acid, quitting smoking, getting more exercise and eating healthier.
For women with Crohn's, the biggest factor influencing a healthy pregnancy is the state of disease activity. A planned pregnancy when Crohn's is in remission has the greatest chance for a favorable outcome. To best manage all aspects of your care during and after pregnancy, work carefully with the doctor you're seeing for Crohn's disease as well as your obstetrician and your baby's pediatrician.
BACKGROUND: Crohn's disease is a chronic, long-term illness in which the intestine, or bowel, becomes inflamed. It is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
Chrones disease can affect any area of the GI tract, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum.
The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ and can cause pain, fever and diarrhea.
The disease can surface at any age, but it is most common between the ages of 15 and 30. People with Chron's disease experience periods of severe symptoms, followed by weeks or years of remission.
Treatment may include drugs, nutrition supplements, surgery or a combination of these options. The goal is to control inflammation and relieve the symptoms. Treatment can help control the disease by lowering the number of times a person experiences a recurrence, but there is no cure.
For More Information, Contact:Dana Wirth Sparks
Department of Public Affairs
The Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN(507) 538-0844
Thursday, April 9, 2009
A woman who claims that a condition she suffers from was made worse by her working conditions is seeking a payout.
Elizabeth Andrews had to take over a year off work after her Crohn's disease worsened. The 40-year-old was transferred from her role at Tate Britain in Millbank to the Tate Modern. She claims that she made the move only reluctantly and because she felt she had no choice. According to Ms Andrews, the size of the Tate Modern and its air conditioning system caused her Crohn's disease to flare up.She said: "It became clear that it was not suitable for me. It is a much bigger and colder building than Tate Britain.
The air conditioning from the CCTV room where I worked from time to time made my [Crohn's] worse."A condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, Crohn's disease usually starts between the ages of 15 and 40 and is slightly more common in women than men.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Stem cell research firm Osiris Therapeutics Inc (OSIR.O) said it stopped enrolling patients in a late-stage trial to test its lead drug candidate, Prochymal, in Crohn's disease due to design flaws in the study.
The company would continue the trial with patients already enrolled and use data from the trial to redesign future studies. However, it does not expect to get Prochymal approved for Crohn's disease through this trial.
Leerink Swann analyst William Tanner, who had expected the trial to end without difficulties, said he expects the Crohn's disease trial to get pushed by a couple of years. Tanner does not expect the enrollment halt and design flaws to impact other indications in which the drug is being tested.
Osiris, which developed Prochymal from adult stem cells, is studying the drug in several other indications like graft versus host disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), myocardial infarction and diabetes.
However, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Joel Sendek is very sceptical of the drug in any indication. "I don't think the drug works very well, and I have not seen any evidence that the drug works in Crohn's disease," said Sendek, who has a "sell" rating on the company.
"The company has moved too fast in the late-stage studies. They had very few early- and mid-stage data," Sendek said.
Osiris halted enrollment after the final interim analysis showed that one of the two Prochymal dose arms was unlikely to achieve the main goal of the study due to high response rate seen in the arm that was on dummy drug.
"After careful discussion with the FDA, we elected to discontinue enrollment rather than attempt to re-power the trial," Chief Executive Randal Mills said in a statement. Osiris has a commercial collaboration with Genzyme Corp on Prochymal. However, according to the terms, Osiris would have to bear the full costs of a new late-stage Crohn's disease study.
Shares of Osiris were down about 23 percent at $14.05 in morning trade Friday on Nasdaq. They had touched a low of $12.62 earlier. (Editing by Anil D'Silva, Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)