A new computer method developed by researchers at Rutgers University may help improve the understanding and treatment of Crohn disease.

In a study using artificial intelligence (AI) to examine genetic signatures, 111 participants were included, 64 of whom had Crohn disease. Researchers used AI techniques to pinpoint genes whose functions changed more in patients with Crohn than in healthy patients.

Although the model’s accuracy may improve by including more participants, it could help reveal the origins of Crohn disease and improve early diagnosis and accuracy.

"Our method is not a clinical diagnosis tool, but it generates interesting observations that need to be followed up," senior author Yana Bromberg, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said in a press release. "Further experimental work could reveal the molecular reasons behind some forms of Crohn's disease and, potentially, lead to better treatments of the disease."

According to the US National Library of Medicine, Crohn disease affects up to 780,000 people in the United States. Chronic inflammation may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, although symptoms may occur elsewhere. Crohn disease can also cause joint pain and skin problems, and children with the disease may have growth problems.

"We believe that we can use the knowledge gained from this study to similarly model other genetically linked diseases," Bromberg said.

Reference
  1. New AI Method May Boost Crohn’s Disease Insight and Improve Treatment [press release]. Rutgers Today website. Published September 29, 2019. https://news.rutgers.edu/new-ai-method-may-boost-crohn%E2%80%99s-disease-insight-and-improve-treatment/20190926#.XZTlCedKhTZ. Accessed October 2, 2019.