About 3.1 million people in the U.S. are living with inflammatory bowel disease, but now researchers have found a key to potentially shutting off the disease and its symptoms.
A new discovery is unlocking the mystery behind a disease that affects millions of people in the United States.
Scott Dillingham is always on the run.
Scott Dillingham says, ” Most of my life revolves around family activities and that family includes two very active daughters and two very active dogs. “
But living with IBD for nearly 25 years has had him always running to the bathroom.
Dillingham continues, ” I suddenly found myself experiencing pretty dramatic symptoms, like urgency and blood and was really quite scared. “
Now researchers at the University of Chicago have identified a molecule called Divertin, which blocks an enzyme from breaking down the intestinal barrier.
When that barrier breaks down …
David Rubin, MD, University of Chicago says, ” Then our immune system reacts to it and may think that’s it under attack. ”
Causing inflammation that can lead to IBD conditions, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
” So if you can use this small molecule almost like a key to block that enzyme from breaking down the barrier, you can actually enhance or protect that barrier, ” continues Dr. Rubin.
For Scott who takes immuno-suppressants to keep his symptoms at bay, the discovery is terrific news.
” Immuno-suppressants leave you exposed to all sorts of other complications down the road. Being untethered from that dependency would be life-changing, ” says Dillingham.
The researchers say using the Divertin molecule to enhance the intestinal barrier may also help with other diseases, such as celiac disease, graft versus host disease, and multiple sclerosis.