New blood test could help millions of patients with gastrointestinal disorders

For the first time, a simple blood test may be the best way to determine if a patient is suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or another serious condition such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD,) according to Cedars-Sinai physician researcher Mark Pimentel, MD, lead author of a multicenter clinical trial.

Researchers conclusively identified a test for antibodies that form against a particular protein, vinculin, found in the guts of , many of whom suffered acute gastroenteritis at some point.

"This is a major breakthrough. It is the first test with a high specificity for IBS, likely based on a pathological mechanism of the disease," said Pimentel, the director of the Cedars-Sinai GI Motility Program and the GI Motility Laboratory. Pimentel is co-author of the study and results were presented for the first time this week at the American College of Gastroenterology's 78th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, Calif.

In the study, 221 patients were evaluated; some had a diagnosis of IBS, some were diagnosed with IBD and some were healthy, with no symptoms. Anti-vinculin antibodies were significantly elevated in IBS patients as compared to those with IBD or those who were healthy.

"Until this study, there had been no accurate biomarkers identified specifically for IBS. The new has the potential to distinguish IBS from IBD and reduce the need for unnecessary testing, expense and years of suffering," says Pimentel.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S., afflicting 30 million people. Food poisoning has been identified as a significant risk factor for developing the disorder which is characterized by a cluster of symptoms including diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. But millions of patients are never diagnosed correctly. A simple blood test at the first sign of symptoms means patients who have IBS could get effective treatment sooner.

More than a decade ago, Pimentel went up against the conventional medical understanding of IBS when his research suggested the overgrowth of bacteria in the gut was a contributing cause of the condition. Today, antibiotics play a key therapeutic role in bringing relief to millions of patients. A definitive blood test for IBS would represent a significant new development.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New IBS treatment shows potential in Phase 2 study

Aug 12, 2013

Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS-D, treated with eluxadoline achieved better clinical response and experienced more symptom improvement than those using placebo, according to a recent study ...

Researchers describe new form of irritable bowel syndrome

Sep 05, 2013

UCLA researchers have described a new form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that occurs after an acute bout of diverticulitis, a finding that may help lead to better management of symptoms and relief for patients.

Recommended for you

Two US states order tough Ebola quarantine rules

11 hours ago

New York and New Jersey on Friday ordered a mandatory quarantine for medics who treated victims of Ebola in West Africa, after the deadly virus spread to America's largest city.

NY and NJ say they will require Ebola quarantines

Oct 24, 2014

The governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

User comments