Periodic treatment with the monoclonal antibody infliximab can prolong remissions in patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease, a multi-center research team reports today at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Atlanta.
The ACCENT-I clinical trial is the first large-scale trial of infliximab (also known as REMICADE) used as maintenance therapy instead of as a treatment for acute attacks. The researchers found that after 30 weeks of therapy, patients receiving infusions of infliximab every eight weeks were twice as likely to be in remission as those who were not receiving the drug.
"This is the first therapy that truly allows us to manage this disease over time, rather than just treating flare ups," said lead investigator Stephen Hanauer, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "Ongoing treatment with infliximab decreased disease activity, prevented sudden attacks, and enabled patients to reduce or, in many cases, completely eliminate steroids."
Infliximab was well tolerated throughout the 30 weeks of this trial without any unanticipated side effects.
Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder, affects approximately 500,000 Americans, typically beginning in late childhood or early adulthood. The disease causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It can result in diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and weight loss. In up to 30 percent of patients, Crohn's disease causes fistulas -- openings that burrow through the bowel wall into nearby organs or through the surface of the skin.
The researchers enrolled 573 patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease at 55 centers in North America, Europe, and Israel. All patients received an initial dose of infliximab. The 335 patie
Contact: John Easton
University of Chicago Medical Center