In GI diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, the body’s immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and extreme fatigue. The causes of the disease are unclear, and there is currently no cure.
For patients with inflammatory bowel disease, medications — including steroids, immunosuppressants or anti-inflammatory drugs — are used to slow the progression of disease. If these aren’t effective, surgery may be needed.
Inflammatory bowel diseases affect as many as 1.6 million Americans, most of whom are diagnosed before age 35, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
The study was published June 28 in the journal Nature.
— Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, news release, June 28, 2017