Chron's-Disease

Advanced Clinical Care holds Crohn’s disease clinical trials.

Overview

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease most commonly affects the ileum (the end of the small bowel) and the beginning of the colon, but may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract.

Causes

Although the causes of Crohn’s disease are not well understood, diet and stress may aggravate the disease, but do not cause the disease on their own. Researchers suggest that hereditary, genetics, and environmental factors may contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease.

Normally, the GI tract contains harmless bacteria, many of which aid in digestion. The immune system usually attacks and kills foreign invaders (such as bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms). In normal circumstances, the harmless bacteria in the GI tract are protected from an attack. However, in people with IBD, the harmless bacteria are mistaken for harmful invaders creating a response from the immune system. Cells travel out of the blood to the intestines and produce inflammation, which is a normal response from the immune system. However, the inflammation does not subside, leading to chronic inflammation, ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and eventually will cause symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary from patient to patient.

Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:

  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Constipation (which can lead to bowel obstruction)

Symptoms that may also be associated with IBD:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle

Treatment

Crohn’s disease clinical trials are designed to suppress the immune system’s abnormal inflammatory response that causes symptoms. Additionally, medications can be used to decrease the frequency of symptom flare ups.