Crohn’s disease affects about 3.2 per 1000 in North America and Europe and cases are rapidly growing in Asia, and parts of South America. As a consequence, the increasing global burden regarding healthcare costs is significant. In addition, the disease substantially impacts the quality of life of those who are afflicted.
Propel a Cure believes it is time for a CURE!
The focus of Propel a Cure is to raise funds to help scientists in this quest. We support researchers who are rigorously identifying the underlying cause of disease which will enable a cure or cures to follow. Statistically, Crohn’s disease research monies trail many other conditions. In 2018 $69 million was spent on Crohn’s research but $3,000 million for HIV, $83 million for ALS and $152 million for Osteoporosis. We are an all-volunteer organization working out of our homes. All donations go to help fund research. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) organization.
How are we different?
Propel a Cure’s focus is uniquely on Crohn’s research to determine the cause or causes which will eventually lead to a cure. We enthusiastically encourage all groups that support those who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Many of these organizations have terrific support groups, help fund research for treatments that manage the disease and include both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s. For Propel a Cure though, our goal is to uncover the cause, driving us to a cure.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. This inflammation can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people, although the ileum (the last part of the small intestines) and colon are almost always involved. It often digs deep into the layers of bowel tissue and causes excruciating, debilitating pain and sometimes leads to life-threatening conditions. Most people suffer from abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. People may go through periods of remission where these symptoms quiet down for a while, only to reawaken in a severe flare. Others experience persistent and debilitating symptoms.
Is it autoimmune?
No, it is not. For a disease to be considered autoimmune there must be autoantibodies. Only a few people with Crohn’s show autoantibodies. And only a few of those have self-antigens, another requirement. It is now considered an immune-mediated disease involving deficiencies in the innate immune system.
According to the Lancet article by Dr. Marcel Behr, MD., Maziar Divangahi, PhD., Jean-Daniel Lalande, BSc., ‘What’s in a name? The (mis)labelling of Crohn’s as an autoimmune disease’, “Scientists constantly generate new factual information that they use to derive models of the processes they study. This knowledge often requires the generation of new terms. In medical science, disease labels help to guide research priorities by informing funding agencies of the kinds of investigators and types of studies that are likely to be successful for a specific disorder. In clinical medicine, disease names provide pertinent information that helps to explain why patients are sick, what they can expect, and how treatments are predicted to modify the outcome. For this reason, criteria have been defined to establish that a microorganism is the cause of an infectious disease (Koch’s postulates) or that something is a carcinogen (Hill’s causality criteria).Therefore, putative autoimmune diseases should be subject to a similar degree of scrutiny before we conclude that the disease process is caused by a self-directed host immune response.”
You might want to watch this video and read this article regarding Crohn’s and autoimmunity. Both resources are provided by Dr. Marcel A. Behr, MD, M.Sc., FRCPC, a clinician-scientist with appointments of Full Professor in the Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada.
If it isn’t autoimmune, what causes it?
The jury is still out on the cause or causes, however, there is compelling evidence implicating potential infectious causes of Crohn’s Disease. However, many scientists and doctors are not convinced pathogens play primary roles in the etiology of the disease. More research is required to identify the culprits, hence the critical role of Propel a Cure to fund promising projects.
Is it genetic?
Yes, there is a genetic component. Scientists have found links between the disease and mutations in genes located on chromosomes 5 and 10. Not everyone who has these mutations will develop the disease, however. But mutations in one or all the ATG16L1, IL23R, IRGM, and NOD2 genes appear to increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease.
Why is it called Crohn’s?
In 1932 a physician at Mt Sinai hospital in New York, Dr. Crohn, presented an article to the American Medical Association (AMA) about a condition he called Terminal Ileitis, describing Crohn’s disease symptoms, thus giving his name to the disease. However, long before this presentation, other physicians had described the same characteristics — First an Italian physician, Giovanni Battista Morgagni, then John Berg in 1898 and Antoni Lesniowski in 1904, and finally in 1913, Kennedy Dalziel.