New Developments in Crohn’s Disease Treatments
Physicians have a plethora of drug therapies they can use, alone or in tandem, to control the symptoms of Crohn's disease. Unfortunately, some patients do not respond well to treatments, and all drugs have potential side effects. Therefore, researchers continue to seek additional, more effective, treatment options with fewer side effects.
Stem cell transplants
Stem cell transplants are emerging as an exciting new therapy for Crohn's disease. Stem cells are naturally present in the intestines and throughout the body. They inhibit inflammation and secrete substances that stimulate tissue repair.
One type of stem cell, called Mesanchymal stem cells, can differentiate into multiple cell varieties. Since they are not limited to growing new cells in only one organ or structure, such as the heart or lungs, they are extremely beneficial for transplantation.
Think of a stem cell transplant as the restart function on your computer. It reboots your immune system when it is not working so you essentially start over. When Mesanchymal stem cells are transplanted into Crohn's patients, they modulate the immune response, inhibit inflammation, and induce remission.
Learn more about the importance of stem cell research here.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, however, pineapple stems are showing promise for keeping Crohn's at bay. Pineapple stems contain bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme. Bromelain works by reducing the production of two other proteins--chemokines and cytokines--that have a pro-inflammatory affect. In a study at Duke University, the use of bromelain with Crohn's patients has provided encouraging early results.
Researchers continue to identify genes implicated in Crohn's diseases, providing potential targets for potential new drug therapies. Genes interact with other genes along common biological pathways, and scientists have found a particular pathway, called Interleukin 12, which has cell receptors known to be associated with Crohn's disease.
In healthy people, the immune system's job is to fight disease. A healthy body produces proteins called antibodies, which the immune system uses to fight bacteria and viruses. Crohn's disease compromises the immune system. In clinical studies, antibodies made in the lab have been used successfully in treating Crohn's. In effect, these antibodies override the patient's damaged immune system, relieving the body of its responsibility to fight disease.
Most Crohn's patients eventually require surgery. When appropriate, surgeons perform laparoscopic surgery, which uses smaller incisions than traditional surgical techniques. Of course, this is good for patients. They have less pain and shorter recovery times.
Now, a new hybrid technique called Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery (HALS) is also proving effective. As the name implies, surgeons can also use their hands during HALS. This gives then additional control during surgery. If you need surgery, be sure to discuss all options with your physician.
Find out if you'll need surgery here.
Scientists Discover New Drug Targets for Crohn's Disease
Gene-searching method uncovered more players in painful gastrointestinal condition
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_81092.html (*this news item will not be available after 05/27/2009)
Research Shows Promise of Pineapple Extract for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn's Disease Treatment with Stem Cells
Helping hand of hybrid surgery benefits colorectal patients
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