Today is the World Inflammatory Bowel Diseases’ Day, a group of chronic disorders of unknown origin which affects the gastrointestinal tract of more than 2,500,000 people in Europe. In Spain, there are between 150 and 250 cases every 100,000 inhabitants, of all of them the most common are the Crohn’s disease (7.47/100,000) and the ulcerative colitis (7,92). In this post we will focus on the first.
The Crohn disease causes the inflammation of a segment of the intestines, it can affect any part of the digestive tract, but the small intestine last section, also known as ileum, is the most frequent area affected. There is a scientific consensus in that it is an autoimmune illness, but its causes are unknown. Scientists have isolated some risk factors: the main of them is a genetic component (a 20% of the patients have a relative with it), the other factors are: contamination, smoking habits and stress.
Chron’s main symptoms are frequent intestinal movement, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Other indicators are joint pain, eye or mouth swelling and skin injuries. As a result of the affected intestines’ limited nutritional absorption capabilities some of the patients become anaemic, lose weight or experience fatigue. The illness alternates active phases with low-intensity ones which makes its symptomatology varied and unpredictable. However it is usual that the active periods produce fissures, fistulas and ulcers.
Crohn affects both sexes equally and normally develops in the youth (most cases are diagnosed between ages 15 -35). As a result of its genetic component, it is more prevalent in some ethnic groups, for example, in western Europe the incidence rate is the 6.3 cases every 100,000 inhabitants while in eastern Europe is the 3,3, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
The current treatments are not designed to cure it, only to diminish the symptoms and prolong the inactive periods. The most common medicines used are the corticosteroides and the aminosalicylates. If they are not effective, the doctors will prescribe immunomodulators and some biologic therapy. There is not an established method and the treatment is adapted to each person. In the most extreme cases, the patients are operated to repair or extract the intestine fragment damaged.
A new non-invasive diagnostic test
GoodGut is developing a new non-invasive diagnostic test to detect Inflammatory Bowel diseases like Crohn that is being tested on patients in a clinical study in the Josep Trueta University Hospital in Girona. The new method is called RAID-CD and is based in a patented system which identifies bio-markers in the excrements. This will allow an early detection and also the possibility to predict the start of an active phase, with this information it is going to be possible to improve the therapy. The objective is to get a more specific and effective treatment which will avoid the necessity of a surgical procedure in the long-term. “Raid-CD is going to allow a more efficient control of the illness and this will improve the patient quality life” states doctor Xavier Aldeguer, GoodGut co-founder and medical advisor and Director of the Department of Digestive Diseases in Trueta hospital. Among its potential benefits are a reduction of the number colonoscopies needed and an increase in the treatments efficacy.
GoodGut’s therapeutic prebiotic
GoodGut is currently developing Previpect, a therapeutic prebiotic which fosters a selective growth of the beneficial microorganisms we have in our intestinal flora which helps to compensate the dysbiosis that patient usually have. This can reduce the outbreaks and increases the treatments efficacy. This prebiotic can represent a conceptual change in the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases therapy. As it is a prebiotic, its regulation process is faster so it is going to be soon in the market. GoodGut expects it to be available by 2019.