Tool Predicts Disease Course in Children with Crohn's Disease

A Dartmouth computer model uses patient and disease characteristics to determine who will need the most aggressive therapies and who will do fine without them.

A new study published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases develops a computer based visual tool that can be used in “real time” to show pediatric Crohn’s disease (CD) patients’ predicted disease course and how this might be influenced by different treatment options.

Corey Siegel, MD, MS, of Dartmouth Medical School and fellow researchers collected data from 796 pediatric CD patients to develop a model using system dynamics analysis. Input variables included patient and disease characteristics, magnitude of serologic immune responses, and exposure to medical treatments.

Their work builds predictive computer models to help determine at the time of diagnosis which patients will need the most aggressive therapies and which will do fine without them. The models produce simple graphical displays that can be easily understood by patients and their family members.

These results show that patients with CD have a predictable disease course using a combination of clinical characteristics and blood tests. The model will allow parents of children with CD to see a simple graph showing the expected disease course for their child with and without treatment, so that they can decide whether they are willing to accept the risks associated with therapy in comparison to the risks of the disease itself.

“If we are able to choose the right patients to treat with the right medications (personalized medicine), and successfully communicate this to patients, we believe that we can help improve long-term outcomes of Crohn’s disease,” Siegel concludes.

Source: Wiley-Blackwell