Since its founding in 1996, the Jefferson Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center has expanded its patient care activities. The focus of the Center's work is to treat and offer relief for the two most common forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, potentially devastating diseases requiring a great deal of care and attention to control.
Anthony J. DiMarino Jr., MD, center, the William Rorer Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology is Principal Investigator of clinical trials being conducted by Jefferson's Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. He is shown here with Center Director and Co-investigator Franz Goldstein, MD, second from right, Professor of Medicine, JMC; and, from left, Leo Katz, MD; David Weinberg, MD; and, at right, Howard Kroop, MD.
Recently, the Center has been approved to conduct two clinical trials. The trials hold promise for patients with Crohn's disease not helped by drugs currently available, says Co-investigator Franz Goldstein, MD, Professor of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College and Center Director. Dr. Goldstein also confirms that Jefferson's Center is one of the few centers in the country conducting these trials. Anthony J. DiMarino Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine is the Principal Investigator of both trials. The other co-investigator (along with Dr. Goldstein) is David S. Weinberg, MD. The two trials under way involve genetically engineered products aimed to intervene at the molecular level of the inflammatory reaction of IBD. The products are being produced by Centocor and Isis, respectively, two dynamic biopharmaceutical companies.
One investigational product is a monoclonal antibody to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) that neutralizes or inactivates this important pro-inflammatory cytokine. TNF-a has been shown to play an important role in Crohn's disease, and phase-2 studies have shown significant reductions in inflammatory disease activity. The Center expects to participate in a phase-3 study beginning this winter.
The other agent under study is an antisense oligonucleotide directed against an intercellular adhesion molecule. This molecule has been identified as being important in the inflammatory cascade in IBD, especially Crohn's disease. There have been preliminary studies showing substantial effectiveness of this agent in patients with treatment refractory disease. This multicenter clinical trial started in October.
Patients with treatment refractory Crohn's disease may be eligible to participate in these trials. The Center is happy to accept referrals.
For more information about these trials, please call the Jefferson Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at 1-800-JEFF-NOW.