Ambitious Study will help patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Ambitious Study will help patients with inflammatory bowel disease

An invaluable data resource comprising molecular, cellular, bacterial, viral, and genetic information will be made available by Open-IBD1, the largest study of its kind. The study, which will enrol 1,000 patients with irritable bowel disease (IBD), will gather comprehensive genomic and clinical data at diagnosis and at various points over a four-year period. Launched in advance of World IBD Day 2024, the £13 million project involves Newcastle University experts and is supported by Open Targets and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. The project’s ultimate goal is to find biomarkers to help enhance patient care and find novel, individualised approaches to predict, monitor, and treat conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These biomarkers might be used to track patients, determine which patients would benefit most from particular treatments, and discover possible targets for the creation of new medications. They might also offer light on the factors that contribute to and exacerbate IBD, explaining why some patients’ conditions worsen and advance more quickly than others.

“IBD can have a significant influence on a patient’s life, according to Dr. Chris Lamb, Open-IBD Clinical Lead at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology at Newcastle Hospitals. The illness can be rather serious for a lot of people, and sadly, there are no effective treatments or those that do work only partially. We’re not sure why this is the case. Our mission with Open-IBD is to collaborate with patients to identify biomarkers that can inform individualised treatment plans, contribute to the understanding of why different people experience IBD in various ways, and offer new and customised solutions to those who experience this ailment. We feel that this ambitious project can truly benefit patients and the future of IBD therapy, especially as we are launching Open-IBD at a pivotal moment when the landscape of IBD treatment is shifting.”

All disorders causing persistent inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract are grouped together under the name IBD. There are two primary varieties: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Patients who have experienced long-term symptoms of their illness and have tried a variety of treatments are the subjects of most IBD research. Understanding the underlying mechanisms causing IBD and the crucial pathways leading to the disease’s progression has become challenging due to these characteristics. Overcoming this issue, Open-IBD will enrol patients as soon as they are suspected of having IBD and before they receive any medication. Experts from academic institutions across the United Kingdom are brought together for Open-IBD, which will be led by co-Chief Investigators Dr. Carl Anderson from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Dr. Chis Lamb from Newcastle University. Expert clinician scientists from specialised IBD clinics at seven hospitals will be recruited for the project. By early 2025, the researchers hope to have the first patients enrolled.

Researchers will take blood and stool samples from participants upon medical referral, in addition to comprehensive clinical data obtained through questionnaires. Furthermore, the biopsy samples obtained from patients undergoing diagnostic colonoscopies will be available to them. Additional samples will be obtained at regular intervals over the next two years, including one year after the diagnosis during a second colonoscopy. Single-cell RNA sequencing will be used for the analysis of biopsy and blood samples, while metagenomics shotgun sequencing and RNA gene sequencing will be applied to stool samples. All participants’ DNA samples will be sequenced in order to determine the genetic factors influencing the course and prognosis of the disease. Clinical data regarding the progression of the illness and the results of treatment will be gathered for a maximum of four years after consent is given.

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