Non-invasive test for inflammatory bowel disease

Development of a new test for inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers from the Department of Gastroenterology, Sydney Children's Hospital, and School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW, have established that a protein S100A12 related to faecal calprotectin, a sensitive marker for gut inflammation, is elevated in the faeces of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They report that faecal S100A12 may represent a specific and sensitive disease marker.

The recent study investigated the utility of faecal S100A12, in comparison with faecal calprotectin and standard inflammatory markers, as a screening marker for IBD in children with gastrointestinal symptoms. Faecal (stool) samples were obtained from 61 children presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms requiring endoscopy. Faecal S100A12, calprotectin, and serum S100A12 levels were measured and correlated to final diagnosis and standard tests (ESR, CRP, platelet count, and albumin). They found that although both faecal S100A12 and calprotectin are sensitive markers of gastrointestinal inflammation, faecal S100A12 provided exceptional specificity in distinguishing children with IBD from children without IBD.

The researchers concluded that faecal S100A12 is a simple, noninvasive test that could be used to screen and select children warranting further invasive and laborious procedures, such as endoscopy and colonoscopy, for the investigation of their gastrointestinal symptoms. This simple test would prevent unnecessary investigation for hundreds of children with digestive problems.

Source: Sidler MA, Leach ST, Day AS. "Fecal S100A12 and fecal calprotectin as noninvasive markers for inflammatory bowel disease in children" Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2008 Mar;14(3):359-66.

While this test sounds promising, many new tests never reach the laboratory because they fail to stand up during further evaluation and assessment for inclusion into the Medicare schedule.

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