New Medicine May Help Children With IBD

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

Inflammatory bowel disease is a painful condition that effects more than 1.6 million people in the United States. Of that number,one in ten have what is called pediatric onset IBD. That means their disease began prior to the age of 17 years old. While IBD is a chronic illness, there are treatments that can help keep it in remission or limit symptoms.

Potential new medications for pediatric IBD

A collaboration of Medgenics, Kyowa Hakko Kirin and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Center for Applied Genomics (CAG) has developed a new medication for the pediatric IBD arsenal. Pediatric IBD and other autoimmune diseases have in common the loss of function in a specific immune regulatory protein, decoy receptor 3 (DcR3). The anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody medication marketed by Medgenics will become a substitution for the DcR3 and hopefully reduce symptoms.

What is IBD?

IBD encompasses two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The difference between the two conditions is that UC only involves the colon and Crohn’s Disease can involve any part of the GI tract. Symptoms of both UC and Crohn’s are similar; diarrhea, cramps, blood in the stool, weight loss and sometimes fever. If you child has these symptoms and doesn’t get better with initial treatment, you may need to see a gastroenterologist.

How did my child get IBD?

It is not entirely clear why people develop IBD. There appears to be a genetic component because 20 percent of people who have IBD also have a family member with the condition. It’s also been theorized that a faulty immune system or a certain strain of virus may have something to do with it.

Concerns for children with IBD

There are additional concerns when dealing with children’s IBD, because they are in a state of constant growth. Overall growth, bone density and sexual maturity can all be changed by poorly controlled IBD. Long-term treatment goals should be to restore proper growth and eliminate the painful symptoms of this disease.

This new medication is especially good news for as many as 3,000 pediatric patients who failed previous therapies for IBD. The medication is in its final testing stage, and if all goes well it will be available for patients in the next few years.**

Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition. She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years. Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.