"Tight Control" Using Biomarkers Improves Crohn's
Treatment of Crohn's disease, while usually focused on symptoms, has been getting more and more attention from researchers on the clinical side. Researchers have discovered in a recent study that maintaining “tight control” using biomarkers as indicators is highly effective in terms of treatment. Although still being researched, the results show a promising correlation between tight control and Crohn's disease remission.
Some other innovative Crohn's disease treatment options include monitoring of faecal calprotectin and C-reactive protein. These levels show doctors if a patient’s gastrointestinal tract is still inflamed or if it’s beginning to heal, regardless of the level of discomfort. Studies have shown that patients may be feeling discomfort even when healing has started. Even though the patient is symptom-free, healing might still be stalled.
What’s tight control?
Tight control is defined as maintaining control of your Crohn’s disease using indicators other than symptoms. Historically, Crohn’s disease has been treated as symptoms and flare-ups arise, whereas now researchers note that using disease biomarkers is more effective in bringing Crohn's into remission. Depending on the frequency of flare-ups, different steroidal medications and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to quicken healing time. Now, using biomarkers, doctors can adjust them to help prevent new flare-ups and help heal current damage.
Essentially, researchers are encouraging doctors and patients to be more vigilant in their proactive treatment measures. It’s been proven that doctors who take the time to conduct testing on the biomarkers using endoscopies and other preventive measures can predict what course the diseases is going to take and can adjust their treatment accordingly. This prevents the onset of flare-ups, slows disease progression, and creates a much higher quality of life for the patient.
Why is tight control important?
Standard treatments for Crohn's disease include the use of steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery if the disease becomes too advanced. Patients often stop responding to medication after a prolonged period of treatment and are not candidates for surgery, leaving them in an uncomfortable predicament. Patients are often forced to try holistic and alternative forms of treatment which may or may not be effective for every patient.
Long-term use of steroids and anti inflammatory drugs has shown to cause damage to the liver, cells, and other organs in the body. Researchers are desperate to find another form of treatment that doesn't just treat the symptoms of the disease, but gets down to the root cause of the disease. Predicting the diseases progression and keeping a “tight rein” on the disease has been shown to help patients achieve effective mucosal healing and even remission.
Studies on tight control
There are lots of studies being conducted on different versions of tight control and how it’s benefiting patients. One study conducted a series of phases, which resulted in a near 20% increase in the patient’s chances for remission. Another study indicated that, although there was a slight correlation between patient-reported evaluations and disease progression based on endoscopies, it still isn’t enough to go off of patient evaluations alone.