The pathogenesis of Crohn's disease involves an immune-mediated damage to the gut mucosa. Current developed therapies are based on the use of immunosuppressive drugs that can lead to significant drug-related adverse responses. There is a need for a therapeutic strategy that is more specific and less global in its effect on the immune system. Oral tolerance is an active process wherein oral administration of antigens is associated with the induction of regulatory cells and the suppression of effector cells directed toward specific and nonspecific antigens. Studies in animal models of experimental colitis suggest that oral administration of proteins extracted from the gut can induce tolerance and alleviate the disease symptoms. Recent clinical trials showed that oral administration of Alequel, an autologous protein-containing colon extract, to patients with Crohn's disease is safe and may be effective as a therapeutic modality for treating the disease. This treatment was associated with disease-associated antigen alterations of the immune response in the patients. Oral administration of Alequel could provide a patient-tailored approach that is side-effect-free for the treatment of patients with Crohn's disease.
- Crohn's disease
- Oral tolerance