Tuesday January 28, 2020

New Method to Help Improve Understanding and Treatment of Crohn’s Disease

The method can help in revealing previously undiscovered genes linked to the disease, and in predicting whether thousand others had the disease

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Method, Treatment, Crohn's Disease
The study, published in the journal Genome Medicine, used artificial intelligence (AI) to examine genetic signatures of Crohn's disease in 111 people. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new method that may help improve understanding and treatment of Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation in digestive tract.

The study, published in the journal Genome Medicine, used artificial intelligence (AI) to examine genetic signatures of Crohn’s disease in 111 people.

The method can help in revealing previously undiscovered genes linked to the disease, and in predicting whether thousand others had the disease.

“Our method is not a clinical diagnosis tool, but it generates interesting observations that need to be followed up,” said senior author Yana Bromberg, Associate Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

Method, Treatment, Crohn's Disease
Researchers have developed a new method that may help improve understanding and treatment of Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation in digestive tract. Pixabay

“Further experimental work could reveal the molecular reasons behind some forms of Crohn’s disease and, potentially, lead to its better treatment,” Bromberg said.

Crohn’s disease affects around 780,000 people in the US.

Chronic inflammation may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, although symptoms may occur elsewhere. It can also cause joint pain and skin problems, and children with the disease may have growth problems, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

The research team evaluated genetic variants in the 111 people, including 64 with Crohn’s disease, and used AI techniques to pinpoint genes whose functions changed more in Crohn’s patients than in healthy people, and vice versa.

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While the model’s accuracy might improve by including more people, it could help reveal the origin of Crohn’s disease and improve early diagnosis, the study said. “We can use the knowledge gained from this study to similarly model other genetically-linked diseases,” Bromberg said. (IANS)

Next Story

Skin Cream Used To Treat Warts, Skin Cancer May Help in Fighting Against Dengue, Zika Viruses

By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a 'silver bullet' for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases

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Cream
A study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases. Pixabay

A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study.

The cream, called imiquimod or Aldara, is commonly used to treat genital warts and some forms of skin cancer.

“This study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases,” said study lead author Clive McKimmie, from the University of Leeds in UK.

For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers studied four types of virus transmitted by mosquitos and found that applying a cream within an hour of a mosquito bite dramatically reduced infection rates in their models.

They used two different models to understand the effect of the skin cream – human skin samples and mice. In both cases, applying the skin cream acted like a warning signal which caused a rapid activation of the skin’s immune response that fights any potential viral threats. This prevented the virus from spreading around the body and causing disease.

“What is especially encouraging about our results is that the cream was effective against a number of distinct viruses, without needing to be targeted to one particular virus,” McKimmie said. “If this strategy can be developed into a treatment option then we might be able to use it to tackle a wide range of new emerging diseases that we have not yet encountered,” McKimmie added.

There are hundreds of viruses spread by biting mosquitoes which can infect humans. These include the dengue virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which have all had large outbreaks in recent years. At present, there are no anti-viral medicines and few vaccines to help combat these infections.

According to the researchers, when a mosquito bites the skin, the body reacts in a very specific way to try and mitigate the physical trauma of the skin being punctured. The bite causes a wound healing repair mechanism to begin, however, the skin does not prepare itself to respond to viral attack. This means mosquito-borne viruses that enter the skin through a bite are able to replicate quickly with little anti-viral response in the skin and then spread throughout the body, the study said.

Cream, Lotion, Hands, Sunscreen, Spa, Skin, Wellness
A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study. Pixabay

By applying skin cream after a bite, researchers found that they could pre-emptively activate the immune system’s inflammatory response before the virus becomes a problem. The cream encouraged a type of immune cell in the skin, called a macrophage, to suddenly spring into action to fight off the virus before it could spread around the body.

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“By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a ‘silver bullet’ for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases,” said study co-author Steven Bryden. (IANS)