crohns or colitis

The promise of personalised medicines tailored to the individual needs of patients with Crohn’s and Colitis is being brought closer to reality. Thanks to an ongoing project led by researchers at the University of Oxford, there could soon be more effective treatment options available in the not-too-distant future.

This exciting venture, which is part-funded by Crohn’s & Colitis UK, holds the potential to revolutionise the way we approach these conditions.

Project Could Lead to More Effective, Personalised Treatments

Part funded by Crohn’s & Colitis UK; the current project being carried out by the University of Oxford is hoping to lead to the development of personalised medication. People with Crohn’s and Colitis were given the opportunity to contribute to the study aimed at better understanding their conditions.

The key element of this research is to study biopsy samples from participants under a microscope. The researchers will connect the dots between the observed patterns of inflammation and the effectiveness of various medications.

For a comprehensive set of data, the researchers have collected over 300 biopsy samples from various hospitals across the UK. Alongside these samples, detailed medical histories of each participant have been gathered.

Currently, the team is getting ready to create digital scans of these biopsy samples. The intention is to analyse the scans in search of any characteristics that could potentially predict a person’s response to certain medicines.

The researchers will also study the genes and proteins present in the biopsy samples, looking for any identifiable patterns. Such patterns, known as a ‘molecular signature,’ could provide clues as to whether an individual will respond positively to a specific treatment.

With the collection phase of the study completed in just six months, the team is eager to start analysing the gathered samples.

Why Are Personalised Crohn’s and Colitis Treatments Needed?

Currently, there is no known cure for Crohn’s Disease or Colitis. People affected by these conditions often experience a rollercoaster of flare-ups. Symptoms can intensify, but there are also periods of remission, where they enjoy relatively good health. These unpredictable flare-ups can significantly disrupt quality of life, affecting mental health and overall wellbeing.

When examining the biopsy samples, researchers discovered that the inflammation involved different cells and molecules in different people. This finding highlights the fact that bowel inflammation is unique to each person. Unfortunately, current medicines only come in in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ variation. They don’t consider the specific and individual characteristics of a person’s bowel inflammation.

This research emphasises the potential for more personalised treatment approaches, recognising the distinct nature of each patient’s condition.

Seeking Treatment for Crohn’s and Colitis

During a flare-up of conditions like Crohn’s or Colitis, you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain or diarrhoea. The goal of treatment is to manage these flare-ups and maintain a state of remission.

When a flare-up occurs, healthcare providers typically conduct a variety of tests to determine the severity and location of the inflammation. This can include blood tests, faecal calprotectin tests, symptom scores, and a colonoscopy.

The choice of treatment is multifaceted, considering factors like the intensity and location of inflammation, as well as past responses to medication. Although many medicines can be effective, finding the right one may take time, and they may not work for everyone. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary or preferred to remove inflamed parts of the bowel.

Understanding and managing these conditions can be complex, and personalised care is essential. To discuss symptoms, explore treatment options, or for guidance on managing flare-ups, schedule an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis. His expertise can help you navigate the complexities of your condition and find the best treatment for your unique needs.