In a clinical trial, drug sparks a chain reaction that soothes gut inflammation
An experimental drug for Crohn’s disease is showing encouraging results in an early trial, sending many patients into remission and keeping them there for 12 weeks or more. The compound, called mongersen, is a pill that shuts down inflammation in the gut.
Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes pain, severe diarrhea and fatigue and can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and ulceration of the intestines. Roughly 565,000 people in the United States have the condition, which has an unknown cause and no cure.
Mongersen works by indirectly inhibiting inflammation caused by the immune protein TNF-alpha, researchers report in the March 19 New England Journal of Medicine. Some approved Crohn’s drugs such as adalimumab (Humira) and infliximab (Remicade) block TNF-alpha directly by binding to it. But many patients fail to achieve or maintain remission on these drugs.