Crohn’s MAP Vaccine: a potential Crohn’s disease cure?
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a debilitating and aggressive form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It affects an estimated 4 million worldwide, including 1.2 million in the USA and around 250,000 in the UK – and numbers are increasing, especially in children.
Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, weight loss, bloody diarrhoea and chronic fatigue. Approximately 80% of patients will need surgery at some point in their lifetime. The lives of most are blighted by multiple hospitalisations, surgeries and immuno-suppressive therapies, which may have nasty side effects. As a result many people have difficulty holding down a job or attending school.
There is no cure for Crohn’s and no cause is officially recognised. However, we believe there is compelling evidence pointing to MAP as the cause of Crohn’s disease.
What is MAP?
MAP is proven to cause Johne’s Disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease affecting domestic livestock, which is strikingly similar to Crohn’s Disease.
MAP is a type of bacteria: Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). It belongs to a family of bacteria called ‘Mycobacteria’, which also includes Tuberculosis and Leprosy.Read more on MAP
What we're doing about it
The new MAP test
Historically, MAP in humans has been difficult to study as it cannot be seen under an ordinary microscope and is very difficult to grow. Testing for MAP by the presence of its DNA (using PCR) has found MAP in up to 92% of Crohn’s patients but until now no-one has developed a test to show MAP in-situ in the tissues of people with Crohn’s disease. With the new MAP test developed by Prof. Hermon-Taylor, we are seeing it in intricate detail for the very first time.
The test is an essential ‘companion diagnostic’ for the Vaccine trial; a simple blood test allowing doctors to confirm MAP infection prior to vaccination and monitor patients’ responses to the vaccine. Validation of the new test is almost complete.Read More on the MAP test
The MAP vaccine
A modern therapeutic Vaccine against MAP has been created. Preliminary studies in animals have shown it to be safe and effective. The current trial in humans is the next important stage in taking the vaccine from the lab to the clinic.Read More on the MAP vaccine