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Advances in inflammatory bowel disease

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Clinical studies have improved the ability to predict the response to IBD treatment in children and to track the short- and long-term adverse effects of IBD treatments.

Every five years, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) gathers top researchers in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to set the research agenda for the next five years. The findings and recommendations of these expert workgroups are presented in a series of detailed “Challenges in IBD Research” reports, now available in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, official journal of the CCFA. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Each workgroup is assigned to specific topic areas including genetics, epidemiology and environmental factors, the “microbiome” (intestinal bacteria), epithelial cell biology, innate and adaptive immunity, clinical classification and prognostic models, and optimizing medical therapy. A special “Challenges in IBD Research” progress report appears in the March issue of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. The complete workgroup reports are available for direct download at http://links.lww.com/IBD/A77.

Experts Outline New Agenda for IBD Research

Based on a thorough review in each area, the workgroups have defined key research priorities for the next few years, including:

Defining clinically relevant subgroups of IBD patients using different types of information to predict aggressiveness of disease, complications, and response to treatment.

Understanding the environmental factors affecting the risk and course of IBD—including environmental “triggers” and a specific focus on the role of diet.
Clarifying the complex interrelationships among genes, bacteria, and epithelial and immune responses—focusing on cellular pathways and critical cell types that may lead to new therapeutic targets

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Determining the optimal treatment approaches and strategies through comparative effectiveness studies.
The workgroup reports also identify the resources needed to carry out this ambitious research agenda, including a “centralized and distributable infrastructure” for integrated studies of IBD in humans and long-term follow-up studies of children and adults with IBD.

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