New treatment modalities needed to reduce symptoms and long term complications

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are both chronic relapsing diseases characterized by the inflammation of parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Only in North America, more than 3 millions of poeple are suffering from this debilitating condition. Currently available medications alleviate inflammation but still do not prevent long term complications.

What You Should Know About IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the name of a group of disorders that cause the intestines to become inflamed and ulcerated. The main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

It is widely accepted that IBD is the result of dysregulated gut mucosal immune responses to environmental factors in genetically-predisposed individuals.

There is no cure to IBD. Therapies focus on symptoms management and maintaining remission using anti-inflammatory agents.

Inflammation is more localized in ulcerative colitis and typically affect the large intestine (colon) and the rectum (proctosigmoiditis exemplified in red)

Ulcerative colitis (A) is confine to the large intestine with a continuous distribution starting from the anus and affecting only the mucosa of the colon. Even though Crohn’s disease most commonly affects the terminal ileum and the colon, it may involve any part of the GIT (B). CD is discontinuous and the inflammation may extend through the entire thickness of the wall of the intestine.

Patient with IBD experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and anemia.

IBD is a life-long disease with a typical onset in adolescence and early adult. Although people with IBD lead normal lives most of the time, the unpredictability of the symptoms and the medications need negatively impact the quality of life.

Inflammation from Crohn’s can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract with inflamed patches interspersed between healthy portions of the gut (exemplified in red)

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the colon characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the colon mucosa. Ulcers form on the surface of the lining where they bleed and produce pus and mucus.

Because the inflammation makes the colon empty frequently, symptoms typically include bloody diarrhea and crampy abdominal pain. Most patients experience urgency, and a sensation of, dry heaves, of the rectum after bowel movements is commonly reported. Some patients will experience false urges and pass only tiny amounts of blood and mucus or gas.

The different types of ulcerative colitis can be classified by the extent of the disease:

Types of Ulcerative Colitis (Adapted from Gastroenterology 2008; 135:1114-1122)

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of any area of the GI tract from mouth to anus; although, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. The symptoms and complications of Crohn’s disease differ depending on what part of the intestinal tract is inflamed. Crohn’s disease is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the age at diagnosis, the location of the disease, and the disease behaviour (i.e., whether there is penetrating, stricturing, both, or neither).