Newswise — A medication used for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is proving to be an effective treatment for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in the findings of a global study led by University of Chicago Medicine’s David T. Rubin, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Rubin presented the results to a standing-room-only audience at the American Gastroenterological Association’s Digestive Disease Week meeting in Washington, D.C., in May.

The medication, guselkumab (Tremfya), is an antibody that blocks IL-23, the cytokine that drives many immune diseases, including ulcerative colitis. It can be administered as an injection or through an infusion.

The Phase III QUASAR maintenance study showed that Tremfya can achieve symptomatic remission and also bowel healing, with a notably high rate of this important endpoint, Rubin said. The unique bowel healing capabilities help keep the disease in remission.

Nearly 50% of the patients in this maintenance study were in clinical remission after 44 weeks, meaning most or all of the disease’s symptoms were gone, and 69% achieved endoscopic remission, meaning the physician saw no signs of inflammation, ulcers or bleeding in the bowel.

“It worked extremely well and maintained a clear response and remission,” Rubin said. “And, similar to other therapies that target this and a similar mechanism, the safety is excellent.”

The use of Tremfya to treat ulcerative colitis is now awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is expected later this year or early next year.

“It’s a really good option for our patients and colleagues to look forward to,” Rubin said.

Rubin and his team continue to work on novel treatment strategies. They’re looking at three things: combination therapies to treat inflammatory bowel diseases; medications that can shut down production of different inflammatory pathways and reset the immune system; and new approaches to reduce or de-escalate therapies.

Rubin is a paid consultant of Tremfya’s maker, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine.