QBECO SSI new Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment
Every single inflammatory bowel disease sufferer wishes, crosses fingers/toes, begs or prays hoping for some kind of cure for this awful disease. At the least, a medicine that does not carry terrible side effects that can be potentially worse than the actual disease. I know that I do! Every. Single. Day. We need new inflammatory bowel disease treatment options! Welcome, QBECO SSI!
Currently there are very few inflammatory bowel disease treatment options. People that suffer with IBD can run out of ways to treat their disease very quickly. To add insult to injury, because these medicines can wreak havoc on the immune system, some of them even carry a black box warning of cancer as a side effect. However, there is hope on the horizon, a new dawn is approaching! There are several new medicines/treatments in the clinical trial phase that show a lot of promise. I can say all of this with confidence because I was a part of a clinical trial in Vancouver, Canada for a new drug that is showing true promise for IBD sufferers. I received this drug during the trial and it significantly improved my Crohn’s symptoms. I needed no other medications while on the experimental drug and felt very few symptoms of my disease during this trial.
What is this drug?
This drug is a type of immunotherapy treatment that is called an SSI or ‘site specific immunomodulator’. The SSI is being manufactured by a biologic company based in Vancouver called Qu Biologics. If you have never heard of this company, you probably will in the near future. I believe that they are on to something huge for IBD sufferers. They believe that restoring the body’s immune system is more effective for inflammatory bowel disease than suppressing it. This is a new thought process for inflammatory bowel disease treatment, and if you ask me, very refreshing!
How does it work?
Site specific immunomodulators work by helping the body restore it’s natural immune system. The SSI, specifically the “QBECO SSI” are injections that have a single species of in-active (dead) bacteria that were developed to stimulate the immune system in our guts. This is done in a specific way in order to reverse the chronic inflammation that is ultimately causing underlying inflammatory bowel disease. This bacteria is one that is already familiar to the body, it is a single species that is killed prior to injection. (To learn more click here.) The SSI drug does not suppress the immune system! HUGE positive! It works to correct the immune response by using bacteria that is not foreign to our bodies to, in a sense, re-teach our immune systems what to fight and what not to fight. The SSI focuses on Macrophages in our immune systems which essentially clear out ‘bad stuff’ in our systems, i.e. infection, bad bacteria, pre cancerous cells….etc. They are the “big eaters” in our bodies that help maintain balance of our immune systems. Qu believes that when these macrophages get mixed up they cause a dysbiosis, or imbalance, in our guts which in turn can cause diseases like the ones found in IBD.
The GOOD STUFF, what does this mean for me?
Basically injection of the SSI is done every other day. This injection introduces the killed off bacteria into our bodies and essentially re-teaches our immune systems to clear out the dysbiosis and stop attacking self. This will, in turn reduce inflammation and allow healing to take place.
So, after all that technical talk you probably want to know about my personal experience, right? I actually stumbled upon this trial while sitting in a lecture during nursing school one day. I saw that they were recruiting and I was desperately trying to avoid immunosuppressive drugs so after doing my due research, I applied. Once I was approved and notified, I was asked to be in Vancouver within the next few weeks to start the treatment. Qu paid for my flight and gave me a stipend for my hotel and food. Once in Vancouver I was given the medicine, shown how to inject, monitored for any reaction and sent on my way. I was told to monitor for an injection site reaction, the injection site could have a red reaction and I was told to measure it. Apparently the site reaction can have influence on the dose that I needed to take.
I was so excited to be in this trial…BUT it was double blind, this means that only a certain percentage of participants actually get the drug, the rest get a placebo. Now, Qu Biologics was doing this phase of the trial as compassionate care, that means that at week 8, if there was no improvement or response from the drug the double blind nature would be removed and the patient would get the drug knowingly, however, they’d only have it for the remaining 8 weeks.
I recieved my first injection, monitored the site and kept in touch with the clinicl. The next 4-5 days were pretty hard, though. I will be honest. I felt like I had the flu. My immune system was supposedly regulating and I could feel it. I felt sick and tried and achy. I was in beautiful Vancouver so I made my self do a little sight seeing and shopping, but that was about all I could do. I was there for a total of 10 days. I went to the clinic to do all my injections and they monitored my progress for that week and few days.
Once I got home I continued the injections. They incrementally increased in dose and I continued to feel better. Around week 8 I felt a slight decline but was told by the nurse the was following me that the decline was becoming a trend with a lot of the participants and that it would eventually even out as I increased my dose. It did. She was right. I felt better after that week. After week 16 the injections were stopped and QU followed my progress until week 24.
Around 3-4 months after the treatment was finished my Crohn’s disease symptoms started to return. I believe that had I been allowed to continue the treatment my disease would have achieved remission. 16 weeks was just not long enough for me, and likely wouldn’t be for a lot of people.
I am currently waiting anxiously for FDA approval or for another trial for this drug that I can be a part of again. It worked very well for me and I have the documentation to prove it.
I have personally spoken to Dr. Hal Gunn, the creator of the SSI. He is an extremely brilliant and compassionate man who honestly just seems like he wants to help people. I appreciate all his hard work and believe that this drug will be a game changer for those of us who suffer with these debilitating diseases.
For more information on the new and up and coming inflammatory bowel treatment option or how you can participate in upcoming trials please click here