Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Chrons Disease With Fistulas Breakthrough

There is real hope for people who have fistulas because of their Chrons Disease as it was recently announced in France at the European Chrons and Colitis Organization (ECCO) annual meeting that HUMIRA (Adalimumab) is successful for the treatment of fistulas in people who have Crohn's disease.

So what is Chrons disease?

Chrons Disease is basically a gastrointestinal disorder where there is chronic inflammation of the walls of some part of the digestive tract. People affected with the disease suffer periods of flare-ups and then periods where they are in remission, this can continue through the whole life of the person.

Is Chrons Disease the same as ulcerative colitis?
The short answer is No, Chrons is considered medically as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and it is similar to ulcerative colitis.

Fistulas and Chrons
In a recent study, it was suggested that almost half (43%) of Chrons disease patients will develop fistulas, which can be both painful and embarrassing.

What Are Fistulas?
Fistulas are basically tunnels that connect the chrons affected organs to surrounding tissues. These can include the bladder, vagina, or even the skin. Fistulas are very difficult to treat and can cause fecal discharge from abnormal locations, leading to not only embarrassment but also incontinence, infections, and other complications that will usually mean that the patient has to undergo surgery.

So how can HUMIRA (Adalimumab) help?
HUMIRA, or Adalimumab works by binding Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α), which is an important part of the immune response pathway

Because of this, Adalimumab is related to infliximab and other similar TNF-α blockers. The good news is that it has already been given the green light in a few countries for treatment of many diseases that are autoimmune related including Chrons Disease, psoriasis and some types of arthritis.

The study that took place showed some very posetive results and did point to the fact that the healing of fistulas was a lot better in people who had been given HUMIRA:

  • 60% of chrons patients showed fistula healing after 1 year of treatment
  • 76% of patients who showed the improvement and healing after 1 year continued the healing up to 2 years
  • 71% of patients showed a significant 50% reduction in the number of draining fistulas after 2 years of treatmen with HUMIRA.
During thsese 2 years that people with chrons with fistulas had a higher quality of life because the disease was in remission.

All sounds like excellent news, I would love to hear from anyone who has any first hand exprience, if you have please leave a comment.