Irritable bowel disease is broad term referring to a number of a digestive disorders such as includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Although there are medications used to treat IBD symptoms, these drugs do not work for some of those living with the condition. However, exciting new research from the University of California, Riverside could make it possible for these drugs to be more effective in those they currently fail to treat.

Current IBD medications work to block an inflammatory molecule called Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha also induces specialized immune surveillance cells, called M cells, which both promote inflammation and suppress it. This may be why the medications do not work in certain IBS patients. However, the researchers explain while there are two receptors for TNF-alpha, only one receptor, TNFR2, induces M cells. Their new research focuses on using therapies that target only TNFR2.

Read: Update: Inflammatory Bowel Disease Affects Brain Function

“M cells normally help the immune system detect microbes in the gut, but in the case of IBD, these may also help bacteria enter tissues and worsen the inflammation,” lead researcher Dr. David Lo explained in a recent statement. "From a therapeutic point of view we might want to tamp M-cell production down just enough so that the immune system can do its job without having a whole lot of bacteria pass into the body from inside the gut."

Of course, this is just one step forward in better understanding IBD, and for now much more research must be done to better understand the role M cells play in the disease before any new treatment is available for public use.

According to Healthline, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a broad term that refers to chronic swelling (inflammation) of the intestines. It’s often confused with the non-inflammatory condition irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).Unlike IBD, IBS isn’t classified as a true disease. Instead it’s known as a “functional disorder,” although many individuals with IBS can go on to develop IBD.

See Also:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Raises Your Risk Of Melanoma By 37%, Says Mayo Clinic

Medical Marijuana Achieves ‘Complete Remission’ Of Crohn's Disease