Every day, scientists are gaining a better understanding of Crohn's disease: its genetic aspects, how the immune system comes to malfunction, and the mechanisms of the relationship between infection and chronic inflammatory disease.
New medical compounds are being tested in clinical trials and promise to provide greater relief with fewer side effects. Surgical techniques continue to be refined, and novel therapies continue to be explored.
For example, a group of researchers has suggested that the eradication (through modern sanitation) of a group of parasites called helminths (worms that live in the intestinal tract) might have led to a situation in which the immune system does not have anything to "practice" on, and so attacks its own bodily organs.
These researchers fed a group of six individuals suffering from flare-ups of Crohn's disease a formula made up of helminths that breed in pig intestines. Five people went into
The researchers hope to study groups of individuals who suffer from autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to see if a similar improvement in condition occurs with the helminth treatment.