Ozanimod May Prove Effective for Ulcerative Colitis

Patients with ulcerative colitis saw remission after 8 weeks of treatment with ozanimod.

A recent study has shown that a new drug molecule, ozanimod (RPC1063), can be moderately effective in treating ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic diarrhea.

Ulcerative colitis causes normal accumulation of lymphocytes in the lining of the gut, which then activates immune cells that cause inflammation, resulting in chronic bowel movements.

According to the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, ozanimod is a sphingosime 1-phosphate receptor modulator that stops the body’s ability to recruit cells for an immune response.

"This new class of immunotherapy drug traps white blood cells in the lymph nodes to prevent their escape into the gut where they cause inflammation," said William J. Sandborn, MD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at UC San Diego Health. "In addition to inducing remission in patients, the experimental drug reduced rectal bleeding and healed the mucosal lining of the intestine."

In the randomized study, the patients either received .5-mg, 1.0-mg of ozanimod or placebo.

The most common side effects reported were anemia and headache, according to the study.

"A 1 milligram pill of the drug induced clinical remission at week 8," concluded Dr Sandborn. "Unlike other currently available drugs for inflammatory bowel disease, ozanimod can be orally administered and does not suppress the immune system to the point of increasing likelihood of infection or cancer."