A recent statement in a CNN.com article by two experts in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis ought to bring a measure of optimism to anyone dealing with either of these two major inflammatory bowel diseases.
Specifically with Crohn’s disease, “ ... there have been tremendous advances in our understanding of this condition,” wrote Dr. David T. Rubin, co-director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Corey A. Siegel, director of the IBD Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
“ ... our current options and approach to treatments provide much more certainty of success and much less fear of the unknown,” added the doctors in the August 15, 2012, article.
Furthermore, there has been an “explosion” of scientific discoveries in the last 10 years that zero in on possible genetic and environmental causes of Crohn’s disease, they said.
With continued medical advances, the chronic nature of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis -- the often-lifelong battle against bowel flare-ups and the resulting pain, fatigue and malnutrition -- might become less of an issue.
Repeated intestinal surgeries might be avoided as well.
The doctors said that, as with other inflammatory diseases, the goal is early treatment and effective strategies to put IBD in remission, rather than “chasing symptoms and trying to play catch up.”
As the article noted, new drug therapies have recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
One treatment gaining ground is biologic therapies, as opposed to the more common corticosteroid therapies.
As the site for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America explains, biologics are medications made from living organisms, using proteins, genes and antibodies. Biologics are genetically engineered to go after the proteins and enzymes that are tied to inflammation.
IBD patients may know these biologics by their scientific names. These are adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, infliximab and natalizumab.