A Team of Scientists are Working on a Researching Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis

According to a story from Medical Xpress, an international team of scientist from 34 different countries are putting their heads together to identify the most effective treatments for ulcerative colitis, a rare form of inflammatory bowel disease. Part of this initiative has been a large scale research study including data from 771 patients between the ages of 18 to 85 years. Another part of this project is comparing the latest drugs for ulcerative colitis, which have yet to be compared head-to-head.

About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a long term condition which is characterized by the appearance of ulcers and generalized inflammation of the rectum and colon. The exact cause of the condition remains a mystery, but there do appear to be some risk factors, such as family history, diet, and exposure to the medication isotrentinoin. Smoking appears to have a slightly protective effect. Symptoms can include anemia, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and abdominal pain. They tend to appear in a relapsing-remitting pattern. In severe disease there is a risk of serious complications, such as megacolon or inflammatory disease in other parts of the body. The risk of colon cancer is also elevated. Treatment may include dietary changes, medication to control inflammation, and, when complications appear, surgery. To learn more about ulcerative colitis, click here.

Comparing Cutting Edge Treatments

The latest treatments are considerably more effective in treating ulcerative colitis when compared to the previous generation of drugs. The first comparison study consisted of the drugs adalimumab, which is a TNF inhibitor, and vedolizumab, which is anti-integrin monoclonal antibody. The study, which was conducted from 2015 to 2019, saw the patients divided into two groups that were treated with either one drug or the other. 

The impacts of these therapies were analyzed in several different ways, such as histological exam results, patient-reported symptoms, colonoscopies, and overall clinical efficacy. The study found that vedolizumab was overall more effective by 9-12 percent. 

While this is just the beginning of this research, the findings from this study are nevertheless a critical starting point that has substantial implications for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and potential future drug development. The original study was first published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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