A revolutionary new treatment for Crohn’s disease, pioneered by Vancouver’s Qu Biologics, is giving thousands of Canadians hope.
In Canada, around 170,000 people – one in 150 – are affected by the disease, which causes debilitating inflammation of the bowels.
“It’s like being hit in the stomach with a hammer, it really, really hurts,” said 11-year-old Sam Briggs, who suffers from the disease.
There are medications to bring flare-ups under control, but they don’t provide long-term solutions.
Some medical experts believe one of the reasons Canada’s rates are so high is because our environment has become too clean. Without enough exposure to germs, immune systems don’t develop properly.
That’s the theory behind Qu Biologics’ revolutionary new treatment where patients inject themselves with a killed bacteria that reboots the immune system, similar to a vaccine.
Qu Biologics is launching a clinical trial next week, so it could be three or four years before the treatment could help patients.
However, for Briggs and his family, who are gearing up for the annual Gutsy Walk to raise funds for research next weekend, the prospect of a cure has them very excited.
With files from Elaine Yong