Emerging Treatments for Crohn's and Colitis

Medical records Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis date back to the late 1800s. The exact cause of these conditions are still unknown, however, they have been linked to a combination of environmental factors, immune function and bacterial factors, as well as a patient’s genetic susceptibility to developing the disease.

Emerging Treatments for Crohn's and Colitis

There are approximately 233,000 Canadians living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Nearly half of them, 104,000, live with ulcerative colitis and 129,000 live with Crohn’s disease. Treatments and drug therapies do not follow a “one size fits all” model with a more personalized and tailored approach being the most ideal. Common existing treatments include nutritional therapies, biologics, biosimilars, steroids, and surgery.

New treatments and therapies for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are currently being explored with a whole range of research being conducted for treatment of these conditions, giving new hope for those looking for more efficient ways to manage their disease and ease their symptoms.

Share Lawyers is happy to share some of these new and experimental treatments, keeping in mind that you always make sure talk to your healthcare professional before trying a new course of treatment.

Cannabis Treatment

Cannabis sativa has been used medicinally for centuries to treat a broad range of ailments. The active ingredients in cannabis are a group of chemicals called cannabinoids. To date, scientists have identified more than 60 of these related compounds. Perhaps the best known is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabinoids effects the human body by binding with structures called endocannabinoid receptors on the surface of various types of cells. These receptors are found throughout the body -- especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Cannabinoids work to unlock certain cellular responses which can include the modulation of inflammation and pain.

Research on rodent models of human Ulcerative Colitis have shown that cannabinoids can be used to reduce inflammation at the level of involved tissues and individual cells. Among humans, cannabis has been used to treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders and symptoms that affect those with Crohn’s and Colitis such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

At present, there are no definitive studies that conclude all persons with Crohn’s and colitis will benefit from the medical use of cannabis or THC. However, in the medical community there is vested interest in exploring how cannabis can be beneficial to those suffering from the conditions.

Fecal Transplantation

Fecal transplantation, also known as stool transplant, is a very new and emerging course of treatment for those suffering from Crohn’s and Colitis. This promising and experimental avenue of treatment involves inserting stool from a healthy donor into a recipient to restore the normal balance of microorganisms living in our body (known as microbiome) in the recipients large bowl.

Researchers across Canada are looking into the efficacy of this treatment, and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada strongly urges patients who are not participating in a research ethics-approved clinical trial setting not to perform fecal transplantation themselves, or to accept a fecal transplant outside of ethically approved clinical trial and to wait for scientific evidence as there is significant safety concerns and risk of serious infection. There has been some success with this treatment, but there have been documented cases where this solution made the patient’s symptoms worse.

Stem Cell Therapies

Stem cells may be able to help repair some of the damage caused by inflammation by ‘resetting’ the immune system – making new cells, inhibiting inflammation, stimulating tissue repair and dampening the immune response.

Currently there are no Health Canada or U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved stem cell therapies for treating Crohn’s disease, but many research teams around the world are working to discover stem cell therapies for Crohn’s. To find out more about stem cell research and Crohn’s disease, visit the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

New Drugs For Crohn’s and Colitis

There are several clinical trial sand alternative research into new drugs to treat Crohn’s, colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Given there is no one all encompassing treatment for these conditions, and drugs currently used to treat IBD deactivate the immune system in a very nonspecific manner, it might be the best option for you to ask your healthcare provider about these new medications.

For those with Crohn’s and colitis, it can offer some comfort to know there are a whole range of remedies that are currently being researched and tested.

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