Scientific corner

Immunomodulatory therapy for inflammatory bowel disease

Kazuo Kusugami 1Kenji InaTakafumi AndoKenji HibiYuji NishioHidemi Goto, J Gastroenterol. 2004 Dec;39(12):1129-37.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms that can greatly impair their quality of life. They must rely on multiple medications with aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and purine analogues to control these symptoms. Although decades of clinical experience in IBD management has led to optimized approaches for achieving the induction and maintenance of remission, the disease in some patients is still refractory to conventional medical treatment, or the effectiveness of these drugs can be limited by treatment-related side effects. Significant progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of IBD has yielded several immunomodulatory approaches with novel biological agents or apparatus, such as cyclosporine, cytoprotective agents, infliximab, and leukocytapheresis. Further immunomodulatoy therapy, aiming at the inhibition of molecular and cellular mediators, is anticipated, in parallel with the clarification of immunoinflammatory pathways in IBD. An additional goal will be to identify factors predictive of response to treatment with each novel immunomodulatory agent or apparatus. This will help provide each patient with optimized and individualized therapy, thereby increasing therapeutic efficacy and reducing possible side effects.

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