A Light at the End of the Tunnel for IBD Patients

By Meghan Mulvey

Crohn's disease, which is an inflammatory disease in the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcerative colitis fall under the umbrella of inflammatory bowel diseases. These conditions are often associated with chronic, debilitating pain. Although there is no cure for inflammatory bowel disease, William G. Kerr of SUNY Upstate Medical University and those at the Erasmus Medical Center have been able to link the SHIP1 gene and IBD patients. Kerr’s research found that the expression of SHIP1 is either extremely low or even nonexistent in patients with Crohn's disease. This finding can help doctors develop treatment methods for those suffering from Crohn’s disease through a blood test. The test searches for SHIP1 protein levels, which can indicate if doctors should choose a more relaxed or aggressive plan. Current treatments for Crohn’s disease include steroids, which may help calm inflammation. However, Kerr’s research has future implications. He hopes that as more research is done to understand the relationship between SHIP1 and people with IBD, promising new treatments will arise. For example, one possible solution would be to use drugs that can increase SHIP1 activity, which would hopefully calm the symptoms of IBD. Although IBD patients have been in the dark for a long time, the promising new research from Kerr and his colleagues turns a corner to reveal a light at the end of the tunnel.

SUNY Upstate Medical University. (2017, October 5). Discovery advances understanding of inflammatory bowel disease. ScienceDaily . Retrieved October 11, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171005190605.htm