Johnson & Johnson recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s blockbuster psoriasis drug, Stelara, for use in adults with Crohn’s disease. The drug is approved in the United States to treat the skin condition scaly plaque psoriasis and a type of arthritis associated with psoriasis. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory condition in the gastrointestinal tract, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fever. It affects about 700,000 Americans and nearly 250,000 Europeans, according to the company. The drug, which blocks two inflammation-causing proteins IL-12 and IL-23, is one of J&J’s largest revenue generators, with sales of about $2.5 billion in 2015. Late-stage trial data showed Stelara induced remissions in moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease patients who… Read more..
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In a study published online this week in Science Translational Medicine, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome report that resolvins and maresins, molecules produced in the body naturally from certain omega-3 fatty acids, regulate subsets of white blood cells that play a central role in inflammation and the immune system. The new findings suggest that resolvins and maresins are part of a new class of molecules that may be useful for treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Resolvins and maresins, first discovered by Charles N. Serhan, PhD, director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at BWH, are critical to terminate and resolve acute inflammation. Uncontrolled inflammation or failure to resolve… Read more..
A US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee just gave a critical recommendation for a version of Humira, the blockbuster arthritis drug made by AbbVie that brought in $14 billion in sales in 2015. The panel voted unanimously in favor of licensing ABP 501, the version of Humira that’s made by Amgen. The drug is called a “biosimilar,” which is like a generic version of a biologic medication, a medicine produced by living cells. Biosimilars are a bit more complicated than your average competing medicine: Unlike generics for chemical-based drugs like antibiotics, which can be interchangeable with branded versions, the copycats of biologic medications have a few more caveats. So far, the FDA has approved two. The first is a version… Read more..
A cancer drug reduced the impact of an incurable autoimmune condition, which researchers in England think may be applicable to other immune system disorders as well, according to a recent study. Researchers at University College London treated mice with uveitis, which can cause cataracts and other vision problems, using a cancer drug to block a genetic key that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the eye. The immune system exists to clear infection by viruses and bacteria, but genetic mutation causes T helper cells to cause damage and inflammation to healthy cells. Using genome sequencing, the researchers found the genetic key P-TEFb caused the immune cells to attack. The key also plays a role in the growth… Read more..
Immune cells help protect your body from all kinds of invaders, including viruses and bacteria. Researchers from Scripps University have found an immune cell that takes protection to a newer high level. This previously unknown immune cell resembles a conventional T cell. However, it can transform into a regulatory T cell (Treg). Regulatory T cells have the ability to control the severity of the body’s immune response and protect the body from autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells. Understanding how regulatory T cells are activated could lead to new treatments. The findings of the new study were published online in the journal proceedings of the National Academy… Read more..
In a new national survey of Crohn’s disease patients, Health Union reveals that it was not uncommon for patients to see multiple healthcare professionals (HCPs), have numerous office visits, and endure multiple diagnostic tests before receiving a diagnosis. Results demonstrate an impact on such things as the ability to work or exercise, but also on overall quality of life and social activities. Respondents wished more people understood the disease and its impact. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract affecting about 780,000 people in the U.S. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fever. In addition, as an inflammatory disease, Crohn’s can have symptoms outside of the digestive tract affecting the joints, skin, eyes,… Read more..
A new study from the University of Calgary could change the way researchers understand and treat autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The complexities of these diseases have made it very difficult to develop treatments that can stop disease without impairing normal immunity. Using animal models and human cells in animal models, researchers at the university’s Cumming School of Medicine have discovered a novel mechanism that stops the immune attack, and have developed a new class of drugs that harnesses this mechanism to treat various autoimmune diseases without compromising the entire immune system. The study is published in the February edition of the prestigious journal Nature. “This discovery is significant because we now know how… Read more..
The Zika virus that has been linked to severe brain damage in infants may also be causing another serious health crisis. Brazilian officials and doctors have warned that hundreds of cases of a rare condition in which patients can be almost completely paralysed for weeks, Guillain-Barre syndrome, might be linked to the Zika virus. Until recently, the potentially life-threatening syndrome was so rare that Brazil’s Health Ministry did not require regional officials to report it. But last year, the authorities in north-east Brazil, the part of the country hit hardest by the Zika virus, counted hundreds of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, prompting doctors to sound the alarm. The immune system of patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome attacks part of the nervous… Read more..
The thymus is one of those under appreciated organs you just don’t hear much about. Sitting in your chest, just in front of your heart, the thymus is at its largest and most active during infancy and childhood. By adulthood, the thymus has shrunk to practically nothing, being mostly replaced by fat. It plays an important role in the health of your immune system, and is the location where certain immune cells, called T-cells, go to mature and develop properly. The thymus is like a schoolhouse for T-cells where they learn important lessons, like “recognize these sets of proteins as part of our own body and don’t attack them, but attack anything you don’t recognize because it must be a… Read more..
Researchers have conducted the first ever trials of smart pills that can measure intestinal gases inside the body, with surprising results revealing some unexpected ways that fibre affects the gut. Intestinal gases have been linked to colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but their role in health is poorly understood and there is currently no easy and reliable tool for detecting them inside the gut. The first animal trials of smart gas sensing pills developed at Australia’s RMIT University – which can send data from inside the gut directly to a mobile phone – have examined the impact of low and high-fibre diets on intestinal gases and offer new clues for the development of treatments… Read more..