TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - About half a million people suffer from Crohn's disease in the United States. It's an incurable disease affecting the digestive system, but could researchers be any closer to finding a cure?
Debilitating stomach pain, chronic diarrhea and severe weight loss are just some of the symptoms for patients of Dr. Mark Naddaf at Mercy Health Children's hospital. He's a pediatric gastroenterologist who treats people with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.
"We've never really know exactly what the cause is, but it has been known for a long time that there is a bacterial or a fungal component," Dr. Naddaf
Now, a research team from Case Western has pinpointed two bacteria strains and a single species of fungus that work together to create symptoms. Dr. Naddaf says, theoretically, eliminating those germs could help treat the problem.
"In the long run, I think it could mean a change in the way this is treated," he said. "Currently, we use medications, which are quite effective, but they are typically immune modulators or immune suppressants of some kind and those medications do have significant side
Things like a small risk of lymphoma or types of skin cancer.
While this news may bring hope to people suffering from Crohn's disease, Dr. Naddaf says, there are some things to keep in mind.
"It's a relatively small study. it's very encouraging, but it's also important to stress it's important to continue your current treatment, especially if they're working well for you," he said.