IBD: New Approaches to Symptom Relief

Unfortunately there’s no cure for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Many methods are available that encourage remission but only a fraction of patients with IBD respond to these therapies.


New approaches to symptom relief look promising. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting up-and-coming treatments being researched, to help guide your business plan and improve patient outcomes.


New IBD Therapies


Health authority, Mayoclinic, explains that most medical therapies have been focused on symptom control. But these approaches have not been shown to change the natural history of IBD, reduce the incidence of long-term complications, or improve long-term patient outcomes.


These approaches include oral medications, such as steroids, which can help suppress the inflammatory process and decrease overall symptoms but don’t improve long-term outcomes. Many medications also come with bothersome side effects and risks.


These concerns have lead scientists to question whether symptom regulation is the most beneficial goal in the treatment of IBD.


According to Dr. Edward Loftus, a gastroenterologist who specializes in IBD at Mayo Clinic’s campus, many experts are now focusing more on mucosal healing, instead of clinical remission as the main treatment objective.



New Gene Targeting Approach Looks Promising


Medical News Today covered new research that found a promising alternative to reliving IBD symptoms.


In the mouse study, researchers examined genetic data from many people with IBD and found that those with the most severe symptoms also had higher gene activity associated with blood clotting, suggests that blocking a protein involved in blood clotting could be a possible treatment method.


The active genes were common in both inflammatory cells and the epithelial cells (the ones of the gut lining). The researchers focused on some of the most active genes: SERPINE-1 and the protein is encodes, named PAI-1. This was the first study to link these to inflammation.


Researchers found that an experimental drug which blocked PAI-1, alleviated the symptoms of IBD for the mice. Although not yet validated for humans, this could offer a promising direction for IBD drug research.



Small Molecule Restores Intestinal Barrier


The University of Chicago Medicine featured a Nature Medicine study in which researchers identified a small molecule that could restore the intestinal barrier and slow experimental immune-mediated colitis. A less permeable gut lining, also known as leaky gut syndrome, have been linked to IBD, food allergy, and celiac disease.


Researchers named the molecule “divertin” because it diverts a main signaling molecule away from the receptors that regulate the intestinal barrier. They speculated that this could prevent the immune system from agitating the barrier and as a result, inflammatory bowel disease evolution.


The results of the study showed that protecting the barrier can be an effective alternative to immunosuppressive therapies for both acute and chronic intestinal disease.



IBS Pain: Essentially a “Gut Itch”


In a recent journal article, published in JCI Insight, researchers examined how gut nerves trigger chronic pain in inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).


The article described that pain usually arises from both the skin and viscera — the internal organs, especially the ones in the abdomen. But researchers investigated whether there’s an itch irritation that also functions in visceral pathways.


Researchers found that by using activating compounds for itch receptors in mice, they bring about an itchy feeling similar to what occurs on the skin. So essentially IBS patients could be living with a gut “itch”.


Directly targeting the receptors may effectively treat chronic pain and discomfort in IBS. Researchers hope this information can be used to manufacture and test treatment medications.



Digital Therapeutics for Symptom Relief


IBD is a multifactorial disease so the drug targeting and treatment is complex. Specialists are encouraged to work together to develop a standard approach to manage IBD. It’s a systemic disease so requires a systematic approach to finding solutions.


Dr. Malik, gastroenterologist specializing in IBD  from Mayo Clinic, explains that managing IBD should include organized evidence-based practices, clinics, and centers. The goal should be to provide data, improve an understanding of the disease type and severity, as well as provide management options that are consistent with current research and evidence.



Nori for Improved Patient Outcomes


Whether you’re a pharma company or physician, Nori can help by offering your clients specialized and guided support to experiment with these innovative therapies.


Nori helps your patients make better life choices to increase their medication or treatment protocol with the ultimate goal of increasing quality of life. The program has been proven to increase daily management of the condition. This could increase the belief and commitment in the medical plan and current medication treatment.


Nori Will Help You:

-Gain in-depth knowledge of patient barriers and challenges
-Improve and extend existing products
-Prove value to buyers
-Drive brand innovation


Contact us to inquire about partnerships.


This article has been written by Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and nutritionist, and co-founder of Nori Health. Content is based on her professional knowledge, and our collection of 100+ scientific research study papers.