Improve IBD Treatment with Genetic Studies

The key to determining the level to which inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients might become sick is to understand patients' genetic variation.

The key to determining the level to which inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients might become sick is to understand patients’ genetic variation.

In an international study involving 35,000 patients suffering from Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), researchers compared the clinical records of IBD patients with data they had collected from DNA analysis. The data showed IBD progression, the rate at which the disease develops.

Dermot McGovern, MD, PhD, MRCP (UK), director of Translational Medicine, F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute, Cedars- Sinai, remarked, “This new research strongly suggests that we are dealing with a number of diseases hidden within CD and UC, constituting a large spectrum of IBD.”

The team learned that genetic analysis could help identify which patients would benefit from more aggressive therapy and earlier intervention. “We have very effective therapies for IBD if we use them sooner in the disease, especially for those patients who are at risk for developing a serious form of illness,” said McGovern.

Another point to consider is that genes connected to IBD are also inevitably associated with other autoimmune diseases like spondylitis and psoriasis. As such, further research is necessary to explore managing those conditions.