A high-risk and high-return pilot research initiative funded by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, the Broad Medical Research Program (BMRP), recently reported the discovery of unprecedented new research insights into inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The new discoveries reveal that the investment into groundbreaking IBD research could accelerate the development of next-generation therapies for the disease.
Thanks to the support of the BMRP and CCFA, researcher Herbert Virgin, MD, PhD, an Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the department of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, was able to conceptualize how intestinal viruses affect IBD, and successfully published his work in the journals Cell and Nature, earning funding from the National Institutes of Health.
“Our exploration of IBD patients’ enteric virome (ie, the collection of viruses in the human gastrointestinal tract) is entirely new and could not have happened without the high-risk investment made by the BMRP-CCFA,” Virgin said in the release. “Now we have the evidence required to attract funding to test our hypotheses using animal models, and move forward toward establishing proof of the role viruses may be playing in IBD. Our research could lead to effective treatment of IBD by manipulating a patient’s virome. While that is several future studies and perhaps years away, Broad funding has allowed us to take th