William Sandborn, MD, principal investigator of the Crohn's disease study, said the results offer new hope to the more than one million Americans who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and do not respond to treatment.
Both studies showed that the use of vedolizumab resulted in remission and discontinued use of prednisone, a common yet difficult to tolerate drug used to treat both diseases.
"The two trials showed highly encouraging results for patients suffering from moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis when conventional therapy such as steroids, immune suppressive drugs and anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biologic drugs failed," Sandborn, of the Division of Gastroenterology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at UC San Diego Health System, said.
"This is a disease modifying drug. In many cases of patients with ulcerative colitis, complete healing of the bowel was observed and maintained with continued use of vedolizumab," he said.
Vedolizumab is targeted to disease within the digestive tract so other areas of the body remain unaffected.
It blocks immune system cells that release proteins called cytokines that trigger inflammation, causing tissue damage and diarrhea to move into the small intestine and colon.
The targeted nature of the medication helps reduce troublesome side effects such as weight gain, nausea and headaches caused by other treatment options.
Current treatments such as steroids and immunosuppressive medications broadly suppress the immune system, which can also put the patient at risk for infections.
The findings are set to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
--ANI (Posted on 26-08-2013)