This week we finally opened our new faecal calprotectin service. Presently we are calibrating our system with samples donated from volunteers, but shortly we will be able to offer this routinely to our catchment patients.
Faecal calprotectin is a neutophil degradation product which can be used as a non-invasive marker of inflammation. My own published research demonstrated a direct correlation between its presence and quantity with the endoscopic and histological assessments of inflammation within the bowel. A significant number of trials have been performed to demonstrate its usefulness in differentiating between organic (eg. IBD) and functional (eg. IBS) bowel disease with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.
We aim to use it as a marker to monitor our stable IBD patients on patient self management programmes, and hope to publish data shortly on its effective use in reducing unnecessary colonoscopy.