Ulcerative Colitis is serious ailment that has been shown to be an auto-immune disease that involves an attack by the ulcerative colitis patient’s own immune system against intestinal tissue. According to a description of this disease as shown on the Mayo Clinic website –
“Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.
“Ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications. While it has no known cure, treatment can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease and even bring about long-term remission.
“Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Signs and symptoms may include:
· Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
· Abdominal pain and cramping
· Rectal pain
· Rectal bleeding — passing small amount of blood with stool
· Urgency to defecate
· Inability to defecate despite urgency
· Weight loss
· In children, failure to grow
“Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. The course of ulcerative colitis may vary, with some people having long periods of remission.”
As stated above, this disease has no known cure. However, there is strategy that is being investigated by Wendy J. Komocsar. and her colleagues in the laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN that utilizes the production of a monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of BAFF. BAFF is a natural B-cell activating factor – this factor effectively enhances B-cell survival. B cells are a subset of the immune repertoire of circulating lymphocytes that are responsible for the production of antibodies. In addition, it has been demonstrated that the overexpression of BAFF results in severe autoimmune disorders in mice. Furthermore, elevated levels of BAFF have been shown to be present in some patients with autoimmune diseases. The monoclonal antibody that has bee produced that blocks BAFF is a potential drug referred to as tabalumab.
This type of approach may provide the potential for providing relief for individual’s suffering from a variety of autoimmune disorders.