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Antibody Helps Fight Crohn’s Disease

Thu., May 23, 1996, midnight

Doctors say they have induced remission of the severe bowel ailment Crohn’s disease by giving patients doses of part-mouse, part-human antibodies.

About 400,000 to 500,000 Americans suffer from Crohn’s, a chronic inflammation of the small and large intestines which causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and weight loss. Its cause is unknown.

In a study involving 108 patients, participants received single intravenous doses of a monoclonal antibody called cA2, which blocks tumor necrosis factor, a blood protein that plays a role in the inflammation.

Of those who were given the drug, 65 percent showed significant improvement after four weeks, compared with just 17 percent of those who received a dummy injection. Of the 65 percent who responded, half went into remission, and the others showed dramatic improvement.

The benefits manifested themselves as early as two weeks and persisted at least 12 weeks. No side effects appeared.

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