The announcement marks the continuing advancement toward personalized medicine. People can self-test for gastrointestinal inflammation that may indicate several conditions, including the inflammatory bowel diseases: Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Inflammatory bowel disease refers to chronic inflammation of all or a portion of the digestive tract. This category of diseases includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic gastrointestinal tract inflammatory condition that can affect any region of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic large intestinal disease. The large intestine is also called the colon. The colon becomes inflamed, developing tiny open sores, which create pus and mucous. Extreme discomfort can result.
According to a company press release, individuals with these potential conditions will no longer need to bring stool samples to a clinic or laboratory for testing. The testing kit combines a stool extraction device called Calex, a calprotectin test strip and an IBDoc smart phone app.
“IBDoc is a milestone for patients, but also a milestone in the still young history of smart phone based clinical applications. Never before has such a sophisticated biologic test system been brought to patients’ homes,” says Dr. Thomas Hafen, CEO of Bühlmann.
Calprotectin is a fecal-based biomarker that can be used to measure gastrointestinal inflammation. Scientists have found that it corresponds with gastrointestinal damage and with measurements made using endoscopy in both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is believed to be a better biomarker than those measured using blood tests.
Patients are able to read the test result via an image and communicate with healthcare providers using the internet, rather than going to a medical office. A web portal is available and the patient can monitor the test results continuously. The company also assures a high level of security and confidentiality is in place.
“IBDoc offers a level of patient empowerment for IBD patients comparable with what blood sugar home testing did for diabetic patients a generation ago,” says Dr. Chris Moore, CPO at Bühlmann Laboratories. “For this we had to make stool testing as simple as possible. ”
“The feedback from enrolled patients so far is phenomenal,” according to Dr. Christian Reinhard, IBDoc product manager. “Patients are so motivated and they really like to be in charge and at the same time communicating with their nurse or physician.”