Crohn's Disease Research at Carilion

Karen McNew McGuire's picture
By Karen McNew McGuire on January 17, 2019

Advances in technology, like this tiny pill camera, are allowing Dario Sorrentino, M.D., to hit fast forward on his Crohn’s research—unlocking answers to a disease that begins deep inside of our intestines.
“Crohn’s disease is a bit difficult to diagnose,” explained Dr. Sorrentino, a gastroenterologist at Carilion Clinic.  
With the help of participants like Beth and Whitney, who go through the process of swallowing the pill camera which will record images as it passes through their body, Dr. Sorrentino has found signs of Crohn’s can be found very early in close relatives of patients.
“Being able to find some better medications and some more knowledge about it,” said Beth Bradbury, a study participant. “In Aaron’s case, he went 6 and 8 months without being diagnosed for this.”
Aaron is their brother. He started having stomach aches when he was 11.
“They actually went through and they did a colonoscopy that is when they found a bunch of ulcers and my intestines were shredded from the Crohn’s disease,” said Aaron Bradbury, a patient with Carilion Clinic Gastroenterology.
“Anything that gives them more knowledge on the situation…and allows them to improve their treatment processes, I think it is great,” added Whitney, Aaron's sister and study participant.
“We’re looking at images of capsule endoscopy,” said Dr. Sorrentino. “This is a tiny ulcer with inflammation and redness all round and it’s the earliest signs of Crohn’s disease. This is precisely what we want to do, diagnose the disease at a very early time point.”
“I think it is very exciting - I think it is cool to have a hand in helping it,” said Aaron.
“In the future we hope to find some non-invasive markers of the disease based on the study that we can apply to the general population and maybe even children,” explained Dr. Sorrentino.
Minimally invasive research, having a maximum impact on the future of Crohn’s care.