A Tonic for a painful and incurable disease
most prevalent in the north of Scotland and affecting 60,000 Britons could be just months away. Campaigners
in the Highlands and Islands
said yesterday they were thrilled at the prospect of possible human trials of a vaccine
within a year.
Its development still requires a further £250,000
in funding to be raised.
The scientist leading the crusade against Crohn's
, a debilitating bowel disease caused by bacteria found in milk
, has fought a long battle to persuade politicians to grant his vaccine
a licence.John Hermon-Taylor
, professor of surgery at St George's, University of London
, told the Press and Journal: "It's very exciting.
"We just need the funds to enable us to do this.
"We have produced the first vaccine
in the world that we have shown to work in animals.
"If we had the money on Monday, we would have the necessary 'good manufacturing process' requirements done probably by the end of July
and have our applications for clinical trial approvals in by November
"We would be hoping around January 2007
to be able to proceed to human trials."
He said volunteers would be sought and he believed his team would know within six
months of those trials whether or not
it was successful.Crohn's
is a chronic inflammatory disease
that causes stomach pains, diarrhoea and weight loss.
It is difficult to detect and treat. It can affect anyone and can ultimately require surgery to remove the large intestine.
new cases are diagnosed each year
and it inexplicably affects the north of Britain disproportionately. There are 60
sufferers in Orkney where the population is just 19,000
From 1968 to 1992 the incidence of Crohn's
in young Scots rose fourfold
The treatment, combining approved drugs Rifabutin
, was devised by applying DNA
technology to "fingerprint" the bug.
It is claimed to have lasting, healing powers after an 18
-month to three-year course, but privately costs about £230
per month.Tim Page
, who has helped raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for research through The Chronic Crohn's Campaign
, said: " This is extremely significant. It's the difference between getting a vaccine
getting a vaccine
. We desperately need this last lot of money to achieve this final goal. "Trevor Flett
, of Inverness, who has a sister and nephew with Crohn's
, said: "It's brilliant news if we are within a year of human trials, but the Government does little to help.
"It's happy to spend hundreds of millions on painkillers and operations, but it's doing little to help the research into a disease that can lead to a lingering and painful death."Graham Simpson
, a 29
-year-old Orcadian, had surgery to remove his large intestine and has since relied on a pouch strapped to his side to help him live a normal life.
He said yesterday: "If there are more and more people getting it, it would be great to know that more and more people have a fighting chance of getting better."
He suggested a contribution of Lotto money
to bridge the funding gap.Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon
said: "I would have thought the Government should prioritise investment to help understand and reduce the incidence of this disease and to ease the suffering."The Scottish Executive
is funding four research projects relating to Crohn's
at a combined cost of £562,000
, but remains to be convinced that the combination treatment should be licensed for use in the treatment of the disease
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the latest research should call the appeals office during office hours at St George's Hospital
on 0208 725 5025 or 0208 767 7631
, and quote the fund account code RLB0057
or contact Tim Page - firstname.lastname@example.org