Immune Response Research Critical To Understanding Pathology Of Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America funding millions in research of immune response in IBD patients

Mar 08, 2016, 11:31 ET from Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

NEW YORK, March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- While the causes of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are unknown, several factors play into the development of these diseases – environment, genetics, microbiome, and the immune system. In some patients, the immune system reacts to bacteria in a way that can do harm, causing inflammation and ulceration of the digestive tract and a variety of other debilitating symptoms.

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"The study of inflammatory pathways, and the microbes, genes and cells that regulate these pathways, is crucial to our understanding of what leads to excessive inflammation and the factors that maintain immune balance and gut health," said Dr. Scott Snapper, chair of CCFA's National Scientific Advisory Committee, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Wolpow Family Chair and Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Children's Hospital Boston. "The immune response is the target for almost all existing IBD treatments and the vast majority of new drugs under investigation. Better understanding of immunologic pathways will lead to novel therapies."

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is funding ground-breaking research to find the root cause of the inappropriate immune response in IBD patients. Understanding why the immune system responds in certain ways will yield to better treatments, new medication options, and help find cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

In 2015, CCFA provided more than $7 million in grants to support research to understand what is causing the unhealthy immune response in patients with IBD. Close to 70 percent of CCFA's current investigator-initiated grants are focused on understanding the role of the immune system. Additionally, CCFA's major research initiatives - Microbiome, Genetics, and Pediatric RISK Stratification Study - are working concurrently to look at different aspects of the immune system's role in IBD.

For more information about IBD immune response research, watch CCFA's new video here.  

SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America