Reporting this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions found that treatment with GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor) alleviated symptoms of Crohn's disease and improved patients' quality of life. Patients who received the drug also had significantly less inflammation in the mucosal linings of their intestines.
"That's very significant," says first author Joshua R. Korzenik, M.D., who did much of the research at Washington University and now is co-director of the Crohn's and Colitis Center at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "We have clear, clinical evidence that patients feel better and have less pain and other problems related to Crohn's disease. Endoscopic evidence also seems to demonstrate the drug helps with underlying inflammation."
Crohn's affects about half a million people in the United States. A typical Crohn's disease patient deals with diarrhea, abdominal pain and intra-abdominal infections. Frequently, scar tissue closes off sections of the intestine, and patients need surgery to eliminate those blockages.
Korzenik and co-principal investigator Brian K. Dieckgraefe, M.D., Ph.D., a Washington University gastroenterologist and staff physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, have been investigating the treatment of Crohn's disease by enhancing the body's innate immunity sin
Contact: Jim Dryden
Washington University School of Medicine