People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) live with frequent, miserable episodes of abdominal pain, diarrhea and in severe cases, rectal bleeding. Standard treatments are aimed at directly suppressing inflammation, but many patients find little relief from such an approach.
Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a compound that may treat IBD without directly targeting inflammation. The compound tamps down the activity of a gene linked to blood clotting. They discovered that the gene was turned on at sites of intestinal inflammation and damage, and blocking its activity reduces IBD symptoms in mice.
Notably, the gene is especially active in people with severe disease and in those who don’t respond to potent biologic drugs known as TNF blockers that are prescribed to treat severe IBD.