Researcher: St Mark’s Hospital
Background: Wounds following surgery in Crohn’s Disease do not appear to heal by the same processes as wounds in healthy individuals. From the literature, we know that 80-90% of patients with Crohn’s Disease will need to undergo surgery at least once in their lifetime.
More specifically, 25% will require a procedure called a proctectomy (partial or complete removal of the rectum). After surgery the incidence of developing an unhealed perineum (the area between the anus and the genitalia) has been reported to occur in up to 80% of patients.
Furthermore, studies have shown that Crohn’s Disease patients have a significantly higher chance of developing an unhealed perineum compared to patients undergoing surgery for Ulcerative Colitis or Cancer. To date, we are unsure of the reasons for this.
Aim: To find a novel treatment for Crohn’s Disease wounds to improve healing by understanding the reasons why there is poor wound healing in Crohn’s Disease compared with normal wounds
Summary: The study enabled us to understand at cell level, the difference between wounds in Crohn’s versus non-Crohn’s patients.
It found that the dendritic cells that direct antibodies to areas of wounds to enable healing are sending the immune system away from the wound in Crohn’s patients, rather than directly to the wounded area. The study also found that T-cells (the soldiers of immune system) are reduced in Crohn’s patients.
These findings lay the groundwork for understanding how to develop ways of increasing the wound homing marker in Crohn’s.
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