Promising Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – An antibody, known as ustekinumab, is typically used to treat psoriasis, but researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine are now saying that it has shown positive results in treating Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn's Disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can lead to a variety of distressing symptoms, including diarrhea, intestinal bleeding and weight loss. Serious complications such as bowel obstruction and abscesses can also occur. However, results from clinical trial showed ustekinumab (Stelara) increased clinical response and remission in patients suffering from moderate-to-severe Crohn’s Disease.
Sanborn, M.D., principal investigator and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, was quoted as saying, "Our biggest challenge in treating patients with Crohn's Disease is managing patients whose bodies are resistant to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors such as Remicade, Humira and Cimzi. Ustekinumab blocks two proteins that cause inflammation, interleukin 12 and 23. This finding is a significant first step towards a new treatment option for these patients."
One third of patients with moderate-to-severe Crohn's Disease do not respond to current treatment with TNF inhibitors, which regulates the body's immune system and inflammation. Another one third of patients only have a temporary response.
Five hundred and twenty six patients were part of the randomized trial, which was conducted in 12 countries. Eligible patients were at least 18 years of age and had a confirmed diagnosis of Crohn's Disease for at least three months. Patients were treated for 36 weeks in the placebo-controlled study. They were given an intravenous dose of ustekinumab at the beginning of the study and a subcutaneous dose every eight weeks. Benefits could be seen as early as six weeks of therapy.
Among participants, serious infection was reported in five patients and a basal-cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, was reported in one patient. Despite that, Sandborn was quoted as saying, "These promising initial results are now being followed up and confirmed with additional Phase 3 induction trials. A Phase 3 maintenance trial will also be conducted in which the patients who respond to ustekinumab will receive additional treatment for one year. Our goal is to increase clinical response and put the disease in remission to improve the patient's quality of life."
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, October 2012
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