For many years, the diagnosis of IBS has been a catch-all diagnosis of exclusion and many thought it was nothing more than a psychosomatic illness. The first attempts to scientifically approach IBS began in in the late 70’s but without diagnostic/pathological confirmation, researchers were limited to developing diagnostic questionnaires for diagnosis. Several sets of criteria have been developed over the years, beginning with the Manning Criteria and progressing through the Rome, Rome II and Rome III Criteria. The latter has a sensitivity of 71% and specificity of 88% which is quite good, but all this may change with the identification of biological markers by Prometheus Laboratories Inc. of San Diego, California.
From the press release:
Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, … announced findings from its development of PROMETHEUS(R) IBS Diagnostic, the first and only blood test for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The findings suggest measurable differences in the expression of particular biomarkers in blood samples between IBS and non-IBS patients. The identification of these biomarkers, combined with a proprietary algorithm, led to the development of PROMETHEUS IBS Diagnostic. These findings were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Anthony Lembo, M.D., a gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medial Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School said “This test complements current symptom-based diagnostic practices by identifying patients with biomarker patterns consistent or inconsistent with IBS.”
Following an extensive analysis of approximately 600 to 700 pathways, each containing hundreds of potential IBS biomarkers, Prometheus scientists identified 16 biomarkers that showed sufficient altered expression. The expression levels of these 16 biomarkers were then measured in a sample cohort of more than 1,700 patients and analyzed to reveal optimal IBS prediction with a final set of 10 biomarkers, including some that enable Prometheus’ proprietary protection. These biomarkers are associated with one or more of the following pathways related to digestion: motility, brain-gut axis, neuronal regulation and immune function.