SOURCE: The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

May 17, 2013 10:07 ET

Studies Show Improved IBD Diagnoses and Treatments

28 Children's Hospitals Join Forces in the Fight Against Pediatric IBD

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 17, 2013) - Four important findings from the Pediatric Resource Organization for Kids with Inflammatory Intestinal Digestive Diseases (PRO-KIIDS) will be presented this weekend at the annual Digestive Disease Week (DDW) Conference in Orlando, FL. Under the direction of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), this first ever, large-scale multi-center collaborative effort is working to improve the precision of diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases in children.

"Not only is it the largest cohort of its kind, but the initial findings are extremely promising," said Francisco Sylvester, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and chair of the CCFA's PRO-KIIDS initiative. "The resulting knowledge will translate into individualized approaches to treating inflammatory bowel diseases in children and the more targeted treatment of severe disease and its lifelong consequences."

Study findings include:

  • New therapeutic targets identified for patients at higher risk for complications
  • Identifying mechanisms of disease
  • Improved diagnostic techniques
  • Genetic differences based on patients age at time of diagnosis

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) affect approximately 1.4 million Americans and results from a complex interaction between environmental factors, genetics and host immune mechanisms. The incidence of IBD has doubled in children over the past decade. There are two main forms of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These forms have many subtypes that differ in disease behavior and location and dictate different medical and surgical approaches.

IBD diagnosis is primarily based on endoscopy and histopathologic analysis of intestinal biopsies combined with radiographic imaging of the small bowel. Crohn's disease can involve any part of the digestive tract from the lips to the rectum, while ulcerative colitis involves primarily the colon. Diagnosis is most challenging in 30 percent of Crohn's disease, who have colon only disease which may be indistinguishable from ulcerative colitis. This is especially relevant now, when new biologic medications are on track to be approved for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and when there is an ongoing debate on the advantage of identifying specific Crohn's disease patients that will benefit from induction therapy with early anti-TNF therapy (top-down) rather than with steroids and immunomodulator (step-up treatment). Knowing in advance that a patient would not respond to steroid-related adverse effects would then call for directing alternative induction therapy with early anti-TNF therapy.

The results being presented at DDW are just the beginning of the work being done by PRO-KIIDS. CCFA is committed to funding research in this area as the future of pediatric well being and health is dependent upon it.

About CCFA

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.ccfa.org, call 888-694-8872, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. 

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