Extractions from web:----
Over the short term, steroid drugs like prednisone work well to fend off the bloody diarrhea, cramps, and fatigue of ulcerative colitis, a disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon. But the drugs can cause severe side effects if patients take them for long periods. Canadian researchers wondered if MLN02, a drug that blocks immune-system cells from inappropriately attacking the lining of the colon, could ease the symptoms of ulcerative colitis without the side effects of steroid drugs.
What the researchers wanted to know: Can the drug MLN02 ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
What they did: Researchers used blood tests, stool samples, questionnaires, and colonoscopies to determine the severity of disease in 181 ulcerative colitis patients. They then divided the patients into three groups. Patients in two groups, a high-dose group and a low-dose group, each received two intravenous doses of MLN02 one month apart. The third group received a placebo. Researchers examined all the patients several times over the six-week experiment.
What they found: After six weeks, roughly a third of the patients who took MLN02, regardless of dosage, went into remission, compared with only 14 percent of the patients in the placebo group. Sixty-six percent of the patients in the low-dosage group and 53 percent of those in the high-dose group showed improvement of symptoms, while only 33 percent of the placebo group patients improved. When researchers checked the severity of the disease in a colonoscopy, 28 percent of patients who received the smaller dosage of medication showed significant signs of remission, compared with 18 percent in the high-dosage group and only 8 percent in the placebo group. (At this point, it's not known why low-dose patients did slightly better than high-dose patients.) One patient developed hives and mild swelling during her second treatment with MLN02, but researchers did not find other serious side effects.
What this study means to you: Short of a surgical procedure to remove parts of the colon affected by ulcerative colitis, researchers have not yet found a cure for this chronic disease. But with a drug like MLN02, doctors now have another treatment option. Unlike steroid drugs, which mimic hormones in the body and work within the cell, MLN02 blocks proteins on the cell surface to prevent attacks by white blood cells. Such a drug could reduce doctors' dependence on steroids, which can cause severe side effects if patients take them for a long time
Dignosed March 2006.