News Release 

New partnership announced to develop first prognostic tests for pediatric Crohn's disease

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation enters partnership with LifeArc to develop first clinical tests to predict disease course and response to treatment in pediatric Crohn's patients

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

Science Business Announcement

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, the leading non-profit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), has entered into a partnership with LifeArc, an independent medical research charity that advances translation of early science into health care treatments or diagnostics, to potentially develop the first clinical lab test to predict disease course in pediatric patients with Crohn's disease and response to treatment. A prognostic test which could accurately predict which children will develop complications and identify patients most likely to benefit from anti-TNF therapy would help clinicians make effective early treatment decisions to improve outcomes.

"There is an urgent need for a prognostic test for early prediction of fibrotic and fistulizing complications which could require surgery. The ability to predict disease course and develop treatment protocols to address potential complications would be a major advancement toward delivering precision medicine for pediatric Crohn's disease, and the Foundation is excited to be leading the way," said Andrés Hurtado-Lorenzo PhD, vice president of translational research. "With early understanding of disease course and response to treatment physicians and parents could make decisions based on patient's biological and clinical characteristics to deliver the right drug at the right time to the right patient."

The development of the clinical test advances the findings of the Foundation's Pediatric RISK Stratification Study, the largest, new-onset study completed on pediatric Crohn's disease patients. Researchers successfully identified biological signatures capable of predicting if a child newly diagnosed with Crohn's disease will develop disease-related complications. The pediatric RISK study provided proof of concept that the analysis of intestinal gene expression patterns can prognosticate disease course at diagnosis.

The Foundation is driving the translational research needed to improve and develop both a prognostic test and a treatment response test. LifeArc is investing R&D expertise and resources to advance toward product development.

"LifeArc's Centre for Diagnostics Development is excited to be working with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation in the development of this innovative assay in diagnosing potential future complications and response to treatment for paediatric Crohn's patients," said Dr. Ciaran Fulton, Associate Director and Head of Diagnostics at LifeArc. "Our team has helped to develop diagnostic opportunities in advanced breast cancer, and undertake disease monitoring in tuberculosis where our expertise in design, development and clinical evaluation of assays advances new tests toward the clinic to benefit patient outcomes."

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation translational research team, in collaboration with Genedata, a leading bioinformatics company, used artificial intelligence methods for analysis of the RISK study data to identify novel optimized biological signatures for assay development and validation in prospective studies, enabling the initiation of development of these new gene expression-based tests.

The Foundation and LifeArc are working toward developing the prototype with the goal of advancing a product to market within the next four years.

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About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the leading non-profit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The Foundation's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD. Our work is dramatically accelerating the research process through our database and investment initiatives; we also provide extensive educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public. For more information, visit http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org.

About LifeArc

LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity. Our mission is to advance translation of early science into health care treatments or diagnostics that can be taken through to full development and made available to patients. We have been doing this for more than 25 years and our work has resulted in a diagnostic for antibiotic resistance and four licensed medicines. Our success allows us to explore new approaches to stimulate and fund translation. We have our own drug discovery and diagnostics development facilities, supported by experts in technology transfer and intellectual property who also provide services to other organisations. Our model is built on collaboration, and we partner with a broad range of groups including medical research charities, research organisations, industry and academic scientists. We are motivated by patient need and scientific opportunity. Two funds help us to invest in external projects for the benefit of patients: our Philanthropic Fund provides grants to support medical research projects focused on the translation of rare diseases research and our Seed Fund is aimed at start-up companies focussed on developing new therapeutics and biological modalities. Find out more about our work on http://www.lifearc.org or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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