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Category: Gastrointestinal Diseases
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are studying the experimental drug Tofacitinib as a potential treatment for people who screen positive for ulcerative colitis in a lab test. If successful, the scientists will be able to provide a new therapeutic option for patients.
Tofacitinib, which controls proteins in the immune system, is currently under review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a medication for rheumatoid arthritis. In order to see whether the drug may also help ulcerative colitis patients, a team of scientists conducted an international study that recruited nearly 200 individuals, all of whom took Tofacitinib twice a day for eight weeks.
The researchers noted that some patients began to experience improvements in their symptoms - which may include rectal bleeding and painful diarrhea - in as little as two weeks.
"Patients with a more advanced case of ulcerative colitis need a potent and highly effective therapy," said researcher William Sandborn, M.D. "The results of our study show Tofacitinib may provide a new approach to attacking this disease."
Further studies need to verify these benefits.
Individuals who are unsure of their risk for ulcerative colitis may take a lab test to measure levels of any unusual immune system proteins.
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