What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the digestive tract. It can cause inflammation anywhere from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly affects the large intestine and the last part of the small intestine.

The inflammation can cause a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but various treatments can help manage symptoms and reduce inflammation, including medications, dietary changes, and surgery in some cases.

Crohn’s disease can affect people of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in young adults.

It can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and can lead to complications such as intestinal strictures, fistulas, and abscesses.

Regular monitoring and treatment by a healthcare professional are essential for managing Crohn’s disease and preventing complications.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?


The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary widely from person to person and depend on the location and severity of inflammation in the digestive tract.

Some common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhoea, which may be bloody
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Skin rashes or ulcers
  • Eye inflammation

In addition to these symptoms, some people with Crohn’s disease may also experience fever, malnutrition, or bowel obstructions.

The symptoms can come and go and may be mild or severe.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe symptoms, as prompt diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent complications.

clinical_trial_diagnose

 

How is Crohn’s Disease Diagnosed?


Crohn’s disease is diagnosed using a combination of methods, including medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging studies, and endoscopy.

The diagnostic process may include the following steps:

Medical History and Physical Exam:
The healthcare provider will ask about symptoms, medical history, and family history of inflammatory bowel disease. They will also perform a physical exam, including a check of the abdomen for tenderness or swelling.

Blood Tests:
Blood tests can help evaluate overall health and rule out other possible causes of symptoms, such as infections.

Stool Tests:
Stool tests can help evaluate for infections, inflammation, or bleeding in the digestive tract.

Imaging Studies:
Imaging studies, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, can help identify inflammation, obstructions, or other abnormalities in the digestive tract.

Endoscopy:
Endoscopy involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera and light source into the digestive tract to view the lining and take biopsies if needed. Types of endoscopies used in diagnosing Crohn’s disease include colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, and in rare cases, capsule endoscopy.

The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease can be challenging, as it can have similar symptoms to other digestive conditions.

A thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease is essential to making an accurate diagnosis and developing a treatment plan.

colonoscopy_procedure

 

What is a Clinical Trial?


A clinical trial for Crohn’s disease is a research study that involves testing new treatments or interventions to better understand their safety and effectiveness in treating the disease.

Clinical trials may involve testing new medications, dietary interventions, or surgical techniques.

The goal of clinical trials is to identify new treatments that can improve the management of Crohn’s disease and ultimately lead to a cure.

Clinical trials are conducted in several phases, starting with small studies to evaluate safety and dosage and progressing to larger studies to evaluate effectiveness and compare the new treatment to standard treatment or placebo.

Clinical trials typically involve close monitoring and care by healthcare professionals, who can provide patients with access to new treatments and contribute to medical knowledge about the disease.

Participation in a clinical trial is voluntary, and patients must meet specific eligibility criteria to participate.

Before enrolling in a clinical trial, patients will receive information about the study’s purpose, procedures, and potential risks and benefits.

Patients will also have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their options with their healthcare provider before making a decision about whether to participate.

Clinical trials are a critical component of medical research and have contributed to significant advances in the understanding and treatment of Crohn’s disease.

However, it’s essential to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of participation before making a decision.

clinical_trials_benefits

 

The Benefits of Clinical Trials for Crohn’s Disease:

 

Access To New Treatments:
Clinical trials provide an opportunity to access new, experimental treatments that are not yet available to the general public. This can be especially beneficial for patients who have not responded well to current treatments or who have limited treatment options.

Improved Understanding of The Disease:
Clinical trials
help researchers better understand the disease and its underlying mechanisms, which can lead to more effective treatments in the future.

Better Care:
Participants in clinical trials receive close monitoring and medical attention from healthcare professionals, which can lead to better overall care and improved health outcomes.

Contribution To Medical Knowledge:
By participating in a clinical trial, patients are helping to advance medical knowledge and improve the lives of future patients.

Potential for Remission:
Some clinical trials have shown promising results in achieving remission, or a state of absence of disease activity, in Crohn’s disease patients. Participating in such trials could provide a chance for patients to achieve this goal.

It’s important to note that clinical trials may also have potential risks and drawbacks, and not all trials may be appropriate for all patients.

Patients should discuss their individual situation with their healthcare provider and thoroughly consider the potential benefits and risks before deciding to participate in a clinical trial.

 

Clinical Trial Phases:

There are four phases in a clinical trial: Phase I, II, III, and IV.

Phase I:
During this phase, researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of healthy people for the first time. The purpose of this phase is to evaluate the safety of the new drug or treatment.

Phase II:
This phase involves a small group of people with the target disease and is designed to assess the effectiveness of the new drug or treatment and assess for safety.

Phase III:
This is the final phase of testing before registration and involves a large group of people with the target disease. The purpose of this phase is to confirm the effectiveness of the new drug or treatment, to find the correct dose, and to assess any side effects.

Phase IV:
This phase of a clinical trial is also known as post-marketing surveillance. During this phase, researchers monitor the safety of the new drug or treatment after it has been approved and made available to the general public. A phase IV trial can also assess the effectiveness of the trial drug against other diseases or indications.

benefits_of_clinical_trials

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, clinical trials play an essential role in advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care.

They offer the opportunity to access new, experimental treatments and provide close monitoring and medical attention from healthcare professionals.

By participating in clinical trials, patients can contribute to medical knowledge, potentially achieve remission or better disease management, and help to improve the lives of future patients.

However, it’s important for patients to thoroughly consider the potential risks and benefits before deciding to participate in a clinical trial and to discuss their individual situation with their healthcare provider.

Dr George and Dr Deetlefs are clinical investigators at Spoke Research Inc and became involved in Clinical Research in 2017, and now run the Inflammatory Bowel Disease trials at Spoke Research.

If you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, join us here:

Apply for Crohn’s Disease Trial

Apply for Ulcerative Colitis Trial

We are here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of clinical research with years of experience.

Contact us to find out more on clinical trials and treatment.

 

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