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Is a cure for Crohn's disease in sight?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
UCF researcher hopeful about a cure for Crohn's disease

One researcher believes he may have found a cure for Crohn's disease. Dr. Saleh Naser of the University of Central Florida (UCF) has devoted the past 18 years trying to find a cure for the disease that affects more than 750,000 Americans.

In a press release published September, 2013, Naser announced a Phase III clinical trial that uses an antibiotic that removes a bacterium thought to cause Crohn's disease inflammation.

High hopes for a Crohn's disease cure

The drug company RedHill Biopharma, has licensed Naser’s DNA technology for detecting the bacteria associated with Crohn's disease, known as Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis - or MAP, which Naser believes is the cause of the disease.

Naser however says he has seen cases where people's lives have been completely restored following the treatment that is an anti-MAP antibiotic regimen known as RHB 104.

Red Hill BioPharma says a second phase III clinical trial of the treatment is set to be launched the first half of this year in Europe. The first phase III trial was started in September, 2013 in Israel and the United States.

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Naser says the drug regimen is different than current treatments with drugs because it addresses the problem rather than the symptoms.

A caveat: Does MAP really cause Crohn's?

Whether or not the bacteria is the underlying cause of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been the subject of debate. MAP is known to cause a variety of intestinal inflammatory disease in animals.

Infected humans that develop Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis could contract the bacteria from contaminated milk, water or products made with milk contaminated with MAP. (or so researchers speculate).

Other possibilities include inhalation or infection from contaminated rivers. In all cases, animals exposed to MAP by any route develop intestinal disease.

Dr. Naser and his team will test patients for one year to monitor for the presence of MAP in the blood and intestines of 240 people with Crohn's disease before, during and after the study.

Naser says the study should put to rest a 100 year old debate about what causes Crohn's disease.
"I have high hopes that this clinical trial may lead to finding a cure," Naser said.

Image credit:
University of Central Florida



This is great news for me and anyone who suffers from Chron's.
I am too a sufferer from crohn disease...and hoping for the cure ...Insha'Allah
Medical Science will cure it not allah.
Who but God inspires the discoveries that bless mankind? I know of many scientists who pray over their experiments and others who have benefitted from the prayers of others. Allah is just another culture's name for Jehovah.
That is a very very goooooood news. I hope it is ture. May ALMIGHTY help us all.
Infected river. In England you have housing estates and I lived on one of the run down estates in Spon End, Coventry when I was little. There was a really dirty river that went through the entire estate but was really dirty, shopping trollies, broken bikes, the whole content of a rubbish bin etc. The estate is on the endge of the City Centre so at the end of the river is flood gates and you can walk on the rubbish trapped in the bars and the water is green and slimey in places. My friends and I would play in the river nearly everyday in the school summer holidays. One of my mates that played in the river too had Colitis and had his bowel removed for life but lucky for him his now cured and has his life back. I have Crohn's Disease and Pan-Colitis. I so hope this works. I'm so desperate. The pain kills you. It took me 12 years of diarrhoea and pain but they said I had IBS or was Anerexic and most of the time they said I was lying. I was 7st 13lbs and almost never made it but at last the hospital did something. Had Scops, MRI scans, blood counts etc. 12 years and 6 months later finely my consultant diagnosed Crohn's Disease. I'm on Azathioprine 150mg. Pentasa 1g x2. Domperidone 10mg x3. Lansoprazole 30mg and Tramadol 50-100mg as required. I am way better than I was but pain, it's still ruling my life. 5:30am this morning when I was in pain and my family was sleeping I would have done anything to just die so it ends. I'm falling behide in my GCSEs at college. I'm losing everything because of that c*** Mr Crohn's. If there is no college, there will be no dream. I won't be a veterinary nurse so I will have just pain. If this is my future after what happened as a child. Then why not end it and be free from pain. At least for now I can believe this might mean the end. I really hope your right :)
Do all of your childhood friends have IBD as well ?
Hi Michelle, Autoimmune diseases seem to be a combination of genes and some other trigger. So in other words some people without certain genes would not develop Crohn's or other diseases like the next person might. I hope that helps.
I have been on this treatment since fall of 2008. An internist who practices functional medicine knew about the research and prescribed me the triple antibiotic regimen used in the studies. The treatment makes all symptoms go away but too much time off the antibiotics and the symptoms come back. It's still way better than drugs that turn your immune system down, fewer side effects. Not to mention your immune system is ramped up b/c it's fighting a bug so turning it down is counterproductive. I was able to get off all steroids after I got on the antibiotics as well. If you want to read some of the research go to the PARA website for Crohn's. Also, John Hermon-Taylor in England is working on the vaccine. He just finished a successful 3 year trial in cattle and is trying to move into human trials. Most GI specialists won't prescribe these drugs b/c it's not the standard of care. Some of the Crohn's patients being treated this way went to infectious disease specialists and got around it that way.
I have UC, recently diagnosed and currently experiencing a flare-up which has left me feeling very low both physically and emotionally. Just have to ride it out I suppose but I so wish there could be a cure soon
Hi Dani - Thank you for sharing. I too hope this may be an answer. I am mostly grateful it is being tested; explored - otherwise we would never know.
Ann B: Hoping you feel better soon. Try to stay positive. I know it is so hard.
I've had crohns for a little over 3 years and am currently back on Humira after several surgery procedures for fistulas caused by crohns disease..Humira didn't help with the fistulas but did help with the horrific stomach pain I used to get. I had to get my rectum removed due to fistulas and now have a colostomy bag..I am 47 years old and I pray that they find a cure for us all!...God bless
Debbie - God bless you too, and thank you. I am so interested in this and hoping for THE answer too. Take care and thank you for your comment.
I am keeping everything crossed for a cure! I am 42 and had Crohn's for 29 years now and am just recovering from my 5th surgery! No medication works for me anymore so it will always be surgery now which I am desperately upset about as I have struggled to cope this time and have been so depressed and wanting to give up the battle after 29 years - but my family keep me going! Be strong everyone xxx
Ouch Nicola! I hope you recover soon, and hopefully they find a cure for us, because having Crohn's really sucks. I'm 35 yr old and was diagnosed at age 7 -holy cow 28 yrs- and have had 3 surgeries. Got a colostomy at age 12, they didn't cut anything at that time. Then at age 15 got the entire colon removed and the toosh sewn shot. The third surgery was also at age 15 for some complications. Many times I've felt I just want to say 'screw it all' and die, especially when I'm in pain. I don't mind a diarrhea now and then, but pain annoys the hell out of me, and dare to say it's annoying to anyone. My stubbornness to do whatever the heck I want has kept me strong, and humor has been a great help to cope with it. Recently, a friend of mine who also has an ileostomy was so frustrated and upset about it all, so we had a talk and commiserated for a while, then 5 minutes later, we were both laughing our heads off about it all. Sometimes you just need to laugh it off for a little while just to distract oneself from wanting to die.
Thanks Vanstrom! I had a wound infection soon as I got home and had to go back in hospital where the surgeon just cut the scar open there and then on the ward to let out the infection with no anesthetic or pain relief !! He then left it open and packed it so that it would heal itself! I am now 2 weeks later still having the district nurses come in every day to change the packing - I am really fed up with it but know I can't give up! These experiences do truly make us stronger though!!!!
"Whether or not the bacteria is the underlying cause of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been the subject of debate...." They said the same thing about Cancer back in the day. Of course, back in the day , a large number of diseases were simply lumped under that heading and then labled "incurable" , it was a good way to get patients out of the hospital without actually doing anything. I suspect Chrones will be the same thing. Some patients have Chrones from this bacteria , some have it for a wide variety of other reasons. In other words, I'm betting "Chrones" will turn out to be a whole slew of diseases , not just one , and the above good doctor only found a cure for one ...
While you're waiting you could try the paleo diet or the SCD diet. After several years of experimenting with diet I found the low-carb paleo diet and I'm off all meds (used to take 22 pills a day for crohn's colitis). Also I had my colon out 9 years ago. I'm going to be elated if they can find the cure but I wouldn't want to wait to feel better :)
Thank you Beth: Here is our article about the SCD diet if anyone is interested: http://www.emaxhealth.com/1020/new-evidence-how-scd-diet-could-help-crohns-disease-and-colitis
I wanna thank you for your dedication in trying to find a cure for this horrible disease. It has ruined my life and effected my 2 kids and my wife life as well. I hope this drug does turn out to be a cure.
Fingers Crossed for me and fellow IBD sufferers... I will be a guinea pig for this treatment! Feel free to get in touch! IBD Peeps stay strong...
This is fascinating to me. I have Crohns. Right around the time of early onset for me, my favorite sport was white water rafting. I went with friends about every other weekend from April to October for 5 years, as well as spending 1 to 3 weeks stretches for special trips. Very curious to see where this goes. Gotten much worse over the years, and I'm working with my GI to try to find a solution my body tolerates.
I pray they do find a cure for this disease! I am currently on Cimzia which has helped with both the diarrhea & horrific pain, but now I have C-diff which has set me back once again! I pray that they find a cure for the many suffers of Crohn's & Colitis,
Hi,i am also a sufferer of crohn ..very aweful.1.5 yrs ago i have been diagnosed...trust me its very painful not just physically but also emotionally..i just got married..before that i was not aware that this disease incurable.i was very shocked when i came to know.but anyways i had to live with..i hope in near future we all get some very good news about crohn's cure.lets be positive..
I am turning 15 soon and will have had crohn's for 10 years next march... I am glad someone focuses this much on a disease that most people aren't even aware of. This makes me have hope. I just started Remicade (supposed to be Humira -but I am to young for that). I feel bad for my parents who have to pay for all my treatment, but now I have hope, which gives my parents hope. My twin is getting a colonoscopy on wednesday to see if she has Crohn's disease. Praying for everyone who suffers (please pray my sister an I) :)
My prayers are with you both. I am thinking Remicade will help you so much. Do let us know. You are so thoughtful to say what you did about your parents. I know they love you unconditionally - that's what parents do - that is what they are. Don't add any more worry to your life. Take every day as it comes. We never know why things happen, but I promise there is always a reason.
My beloved suffering from Crohn 's since 10 years is my bitter experience in my life..i find it all difficult to understand..i pray for a cure day and night..I am really waiting for this cure..checking the latest developments of Redhill day and night.
crohnsmapvaccine.com Well worth having a look at, the best hope yet