12% of people with ulcerative colitis need surgery to have their colon removed (colectomy). Most of those have an ileo-anal pouch surgically constructed from their small bowel, which means that they don't have to live with a stoma bag. Sadly, after surgery there is a risk of inflammation developing in the lining of the pouch, a condition known as pouchitis. Antibiotics are the first line treatment to reduce the inflammation, but one fifth will go on to develop chronic, antibiotic-refractory pouchitis.
Simon Travis, Professor of Clinical Gastroenterology at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford, and the Translational Gastroenterology Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, ran an international randomised trial to evaluate the effect of vedolizumab on chronic pouchitis, sponsored by Takeda.
Professor Travis explained: 'Vedolizumab is widely used for treating ulcerative colitis and this study shows that it is effective for pouchitis that recurs rapidly or persists in spite of antibiotics. Vedolizumab has become the first treatment in Europe licensed for pouchitis that does not respond to antibiotics. That's a game changer for these patients.'