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Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohn's disease
Date:3/19/2012

The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) research team at Virginia Tech has discovered important new information on the efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in treating Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). CLA is a naturally occurring acid found in meat and dairy products known for its anti-cancer and immune modulatory properties.

In collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepathology at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Wake Forest Medical Center, researchers found that Crohn's patients who took supplementary CLA showed noticeable improvement. "In our recent open label study of CLA as a supplement in study subjects with mild to moderate CD there was a marked improvement in disease activity and quality of life in 50% of the subjects. CLA was well tolerated by all of the study subjects. These findings are very encouraging and will need to be verified in a randomized controlled trial," said Professor Kim L. Isaacs, a Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The two main manifestations of IBDCrohn's and ulcerative colitisafflict over 1.4 million people in the United States. Symptoms include abdominal cramping, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, skin and mouth ulcers, and diarrhea or constipation. In addition, the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases by about one percent yearly in IBD patients. Currently, there is no cure for Crohn's disease and the exact causes of it aren't fully understood.

CLA affords those afflicted with mild to moderate IBD an effective treatment without the unwanted side effects of many synthetic drugs. "Furthermore, we have demonstrated that probiotic bacteria can produce CLA locally and suppress colitis. Therefore, CLA can be administered directly in capsules or indirectly through CLA-producing probiotic bacteria," said Dr. Raquel Hontecillas, an Assistant Pro
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Contact: Tiffany Trent
ttrebt@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-6822
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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