Timeline of Developments in Inflammatory Bowel Disease



  • Steroid treatment administered into a vein gives good results in treatment of acute ulcerative colitis.


  • 5-amino salicyclic acid is shown to be the active component of suphasalazine opening up possibilities for new treatments.


  • A new surgical technique makes it possible for some patients to avoid an ileostomy following removal of the colon for ulcerative colitis by creating a ‘pouch’ to replace the rectum.


  • Azathioprine and 5-mercaptopurine are shown to be effective drug treatments for Crohn’s disease.


  • Another new surgical technique – strictureplasty – is introduced which allows surgeons to widen narrowed areas of bowel without reducing its length. Preservation of the bowel helps the patient with Crohn’s disease to absorb nutrients from food.


  • Metronidazole (an antibiotic drug) is introduced as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.


  • Progress in nutrition research leads to the development of a liquid diet to treat patients with Crohn’s disease.


  • 5-amino salicyclic acid is proved to reduce the relapse rate in Crohn’s disease as well as ulcerative colitis.


  • Two immunosuppressant drugs, cyclosporine and azathioprine are found to be effective in ulcerative colitis. The former to supplement treatment for severe acute ulcerative colitis, the latter to reduce the relapse rate.


  • Genetic research localises genes that mark susceptibility to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in families.