What if a common incurable and debilitating inflammatory bowel disease that destroys lives and often leads to surgery and removal of the bowel, was caused by a bacteria? Bacteria that could be treated with just antibiotics.
This is what doctors are investigating now across Australia and New Zealand as part of a global clinical trial, and if the hypothesis is right it will revolutionise treatment of Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s currently affects about 50,000 people in Australia and is on the increase – especially among young people. Patients can become house-bound, lose their jobs and social networks, and they suffer a domino effect of other serious health issues.
We are treating patients with Crohn’s Disease using a novel approach of antibiotics designed to attack the underlying infection which we believe causes the disease. Instead of treating inflammation, we’re treating an infection which is causing the inflammation.
Patients can become house-bound, lose their jobs and social networks. Professor Tom Borody, image supplied.
The bacteria suspected of causing Crohn’s Disease is Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Until now the only treatment for Crohn’s has been anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery.
The global clinical trial to test this for TGA/FDA approval has just launched in Australia and New Zealand and is open to only 270 participants.
Potential candidates include men and women 18 -75 years old with Crohn’s disease diagnosed more than six months ago, and are currently experiencing a “flare-up”.
To put it simply, we believe when the body attempts to kill off the MAP bugs it causes collateral damage resulting in inflammation, seen also in other situations when the body tries to repair or fight a disease or injury.
BEFORE: Red, swollen mucosa, pus, mucus, bleeding and inflammatory. Image supplied.