PHILADELPHA, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a serious digestive disease of the small intestine and colon, and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Now, doctors are testing a new use for an existing drug in the hopes that some pediatric patients can find relief.
At first glance, Gabriella looks like a happy, healthy child- teaching her sister math, and taking care of the family pets, but she has had inflammatory bowel disease since the age of four.
“She, by that point, was very sick. She had really bad diarrhea, loose stools. When she would go, the toilet was filled with blood,” Lisa Didio, Gabriella’s mother explained to Ivanhoe.
Lisa began searching for a treatment and doctors who could help her daughter.
Andrew B. Grossman, MD, a Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Co-Director of Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia explained, “This is a very complicated disease where everyone is different than everybody else. You have to have a genetic predisposition and with some environmental trigger, which we usually can’t figure out on an individual basis.” (Read Full Interview)
IBD causes inflammation which then causes ulcers. Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have begun using the drug Remicade to treat some patients.
“It was discovered that treatment with this medication which was not initially for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, resulted in improvement, but unfortunately there was not a 100 percent response rate to this medication,” Dr. Grossman stated.
Lisa is so relieved that Remicade has made a remarkable difference in her daughter, who is now nine years old.
“She’s a normal kid again. I mean, she’s able to be a child and play. And, she does sports now, and she is back to dancing,” said Didio.
Pediatric alternatives to Remicade include a special diet administered through a feeding tube and immunomodulators, which reduce the autoimmune response leading to inflammation. Dr. Grossman says each child responds differently to treatment forms, so be sure to check with your doctor.
Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: IBD STOPPED IN ITS TRACKS!
REPORT: MB #4358
BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is an umbrella term that is used to describe disorders involving the chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Types of IBD include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes long-lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the lining in the digestive tract which will often spread deep into affected tissues. Both usually involve severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss. Symptoms will vary, depending on severity of the inflammation and where it occurs. They may range from mild to severe, with periods of active illness followed by periods of remission. Signs and symptoms for both may also include blood in the stool, reduced appetite, and abdominal cramping.
CAUSES/RISK FACTORS: The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is still unknown. Diet and stress had been previously suspected; however, doctors now know that these are aggravating factors but they are not the cause of IBD. One possible cause may be an immune system malfunction. Heredity also seems to play a role as IBD is more common in people who have family members with the disease, but most people with IBD don’t have this family history. Most people are diagnosed with IBD before they’re 30 years old, but some don’t develop the disease until their fifties or sixties. Whites are at highest risk of the disease, and while it can occur in any race, if you’re of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, your risk is even higher. Cigarette smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn’s disease. Finally another risk factor may be where you live; if you live in an industrialized country, you’re more likely to develop IBD.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Remicade is a treatment that may help in the symptom relief, remission without steroids, and intestinal healing of those with ulcerative colitis. It can provide long-lasting symptom control to help keep the symptoms of UC in remission. In a one-year clinical study, nearly seven out of 10 patients achieved rapid control of their UC symptoms, and more patients achieved lasting remission with Remicade compared to those not given Remicade. Over 60 percent of patients experience healing of the intestinal lining with Remicade in as few as eight weeks. Over 160,000 people with moderately to severely active UC have been prescribed REMICADE® in the United States.
MORE FROM DR. GROSSMAN: Alternatives include other biologics including Humira, immunomodulators, topical therapies including 5-aminosalicylates, in some cases steroids, and other diets. Additionally, other biologic therapies including Entyvio and Stelara are approved in adults and there is limited experience using them in children.
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