Inflammatory Bowel Disease, commonly called IBD is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. In the United States alone, nearly 70,000 children are living with it. It sounds surprising but in 25% of the IBD patients, the onset of symptoms shows up before they even turn 21 years old. For now, there is no specific treatment for IBD and doctors mostly treat inflammatory bowel disease with TNF Blocking therapy. But this therapy doesn’t provide 100% accurate results and its effects are not permanent.
The new study published in the journal Cell Reports reveals that THF may not work on every patient. This study is conducted by the research team from The Saban Research Institute, Children’s Hospital (LA).
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Finding a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease which is effective and helpful can save thousands of people especially children and improve their life quality. IBD in children could be anything from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis,. Many of them suffer from abdominal pain as well as unexplained weight loss which somehow hinders the child’s development and growth.
Brent Polk, the lead researcher and author of this study says that when the body suffers from an infection or an injury, the increased TNF response is somehow the first thing that the body does. So in most cases, the medicines used to block this excessive TNF are successful however, it may not be an effective long-term approach.
It is also possible for some inflammatory bowel disease patients to experience an improvement by TNF treatment. However, in the long term, the body stops responding to this treatment. Sometimes, children are diagnosed with IBD after they are given an anti-TNF medication for another unrelated disease for example juvenile arthritis.
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Considering all these factors, this new study by Dr. Polk has tried to understand IBD and TNF therapy from a different angle. It has considered TNF signaling different from its common perception (i.e. against IBD or pro-IBD). It has explained different stages of TNF which are directly involved in maintaining intestinal health.
Usually, the TNF signaling is linked with inflammation but during the pre-clinical IBD condition, when this TNF receptor was controlled it eventually caused an early development of colitis. It clearly tells that blocking the TNF receptors is not the wise thing to do even for treating IBD patients. The purpose of any treatment is to improve overall health and not to treat one condition and induce another one.
the timing and the specific receptors involved in TNF signaling require much more attention than TNF levels alone. Instead of finding out a good or bad signal by TNF, it is necessary to find a protective therapy that saves from all potential complications and not IBD only.
Right now, this study is based on preclinical level testing. It requires more, extensive studies to understand the role and function of TNF receptors. Studies like this can eventually provide permanent relief to IBD patients without recurring symptoms after some time.