Colonoscopy is the standard intestinal examination for diagnosing and monitoring Crohn's disease. It is a stressful procedure in which a flexible tube fitted with a camera is passed into the large intestine. MRI scans are therefore often used as an alternative to monitor the course of the disease and how it is responding to treatment. TU Delft is joining six European partners from the academic world to develop an objective, quantitative method for assessing these MRI scans. The EU has awarded a grant of three million euros to this project, which goes by the name of VIGOR++. The researchers expect that this new method will enable doctors to more accurately determine the activity level of the disease over time and that it may lead to a reduction in the number of colonoscopies.
Chronic diseases of the intestines are among the most widespread medical problems in the Western world. Over one million Europeans suffer from such a disease; in 700,000 cases it is diagnosed as an autoimmune condition called Crohn's disease. This chronic condition is characterised by alternating periods of increased and reduced disease activity. It is therefore important to regularly assess the stage of the disease in order to adjust the treatment accordingly.
In order to evaluate Crohn's disease, doctors ask their patients questions about their condition and carry out a colonoscopy, during which samples of tissue are removed (biopsy). However, the conclusions drawn from a patient's answers are not always sufficiently reliable. In addition, patients experience this procedure as highly stressful, since the large intestine first has to be cleared using laxatives and a flexible tube fitted with a camera is passed into the large intestine through the rectum. This makes the method less suitable for regular application for the purposes of monitoring.
MRI scans are therefore being used more frequently to assess the dise
|Contact: Ilona van den Brink|
Delft University of Technology