September 27, 2011

Predicting Prognosis In Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease, affecting approximately 1 million people in the US. The severity of the symptoms and the frequency with which they recur varies widely among patients. Kenneth Smith and colleagues, at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, have now identified a gene expression profile that can divide patients with CD and UC into two otherwise undistinguishable subgroups -- those with a high incidence of treatment-nonresponsive, frequently relapsing, or chronically active disease and those with mild disease. As discussed by the authors and, in an accompanying commentary, Laurence Turka, Simon Robson, and David Friedman, these data should allow physicians to identify those patients that require aggressive therapies such as potent immune system—suppressing drugs and prevent those that do not need such drugs from being exposed to their rare but potentially life-threatening side effects.


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