What researchers discovered about Crohn's disease in the past year
Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s are poorly understood by researchers. Scientists are still uncertain about how the body’s immune system attacks perfectly healthy cells to lead to disease like type 1 diabetes, lupus, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more. But 2013 has lead to some advances in understanding Crohn’s disease that can lead to better treatment and improved quality of life for those suffering from the condition that can be debilitating.
Understanding Crohn’s disease with fibrosis
Researchers from University of Bristol uncovered the culprit for scarring and hardening of the intestines that can happen with Crohn’s disease and often requires surgery.
Fibrosis causes the intestines to narrow and become thick so nutrients cannot be absorbed and feces can no longer pass.
In their study, the scientists isolated a protein known as IL-13 that is overly expressed that promotes Crohn’s disease fibrosis. The result of the finding will lead to better therapies for the disease that can be started before fibrosis and the need for surgery occurs. The finding was published in the journal PLoS ONE in December, 2012.
New drug therapy on the horizon for Crohn’s disease?
The drug Vedolizumab is currently under development for treating Crohn’s disease.