Philadelphia, Pa. (March 22, 2013) - 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."
- 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.
"Through development of the ambitious research goals outlined in this document, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has again led the effort to further the understanding of IBD," said Dr. Lee Denson of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "CCFA is keen to advance this research agenda in 2013 and beyond."
Building on Recent Scientific and Clinical Advances
The CCFA research agenda builds on recent advances in scientific and clinical research. They include major strides in IBD genetics--more than 160 genes affecting susceptibility to Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have now been identified. Using sophisticated techniques, researchers have gained new insights into the complex interactions between intestinal bacteria and immune responses, including the role of specific types of immune cells.
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. Progress has also been made in understanding the risks and benefits of medical and surgical treatments for key patient subgroups, including pregnant women and newborns. These studies point the way toward future efforts to optimize treatment for individual patients with IBD.
About Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases brings the most current information in clinical and basic sciences to physicians caring for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, and investigators performing research in IBD and related fields. Each issue contains cutting-edge original basic science and clinical articles on diagnosis, treatment, and management of IBD from clinicians and researchers around the world. Coverage includes articles highlighting the unique and important issues in pediatric IBD, as well as articles pertaining to adult patients.
About the CCFA
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D. Since our founding over four decades ago, CCFA has remained at the forefront of research in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Today, we fund cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurture investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finance underdeveloped areas of research.
About Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher of trusted content delivered in innovative ways to practitioners, professionals and students to learn new skills, stay current on their practice, and make important decisions to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.
LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company with 2012 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.6 billion).