Prometheus partners with the Medco Research Institute to help improve treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Aug 16, 2011

Prometheus Laboratories Inc., which Nestlé Health Science S.A. acquired this May, has announced a new collaboration with the Medco Research Institute. The collaboration will evaluate the benefits of Prometheus’s test for monitoring thiopurine therapy in around 500 patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The clinical study will focus on patients soon after they have started taking thiopurines, which is when the right dose is still being determined. In addition, the collaboration will also evaluate the cost effectiveness of thiopurine testing.

Inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the intestinal tract. It typically causes abdominal pain, fever and diarrhoea. The condition is clinically difficult manage, and is without a cure. In severe cases inflammatory bowel disease can be managed using thiopurines, which work by suppressing the body’s immune system. Thiopurines are a class of drugs that includes azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine.

Unfortunately, these drugs can cause serious side-effects such as bone marrow and liver problems. Therefore, patients need to be monitored regularly to ensure that the drugs are not causing health problems, as well as to check that the dose is high enough to be effective. Prometheus has developed a blood test (called PrometheusThiopurine Metabolites) for monitoring thiopurine medications in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. It effectively measures the amount of thiopurine in the body. The test is available to physicians to help them to personalize the dose of thiopurines they prescribe for individual patients.

This collaboration is fully aligned with Nestlé Health Science’s commitment to personalized healthcare for medical conditions.

Related links:
Prometheus’s press release on the collaboration with Medco (pdf, 105 Kb)
Nestlé Health Science acquires leading US gastrointestinal diagnostics company
Nestlé Health Science website