Role of Genetics in IBD Development and Treatment Response Focus of Irish Study

Role of Genetics in IBD Development and Treatment Response Focus of Irish Study

Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) is launching a study to investigate the role genes may play in developing and treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and how genetic risks might be affected by behavior or environmental factors.

Researchers are currently enrolling IBD patients being treated at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and Tallaght Hospital, both in Ireland.

Certain genes have been identified in studies as risk genes for IBD, and a linkage region containing the NOD2 gene is known to be present in Crohn’s disease patients.

Researchers also will examine which extent genetic factors respond in one way or another when in the presence of certain behavioral or environmental risk factors.

The study’s goal is to identify both common and rare genetic variants associated with IBD by examining underlying genetic changes, using techniques like whole genome sequencing. It will also investigate  structural changes in the genome and how changes in genetic profiles might contribute to IBD disease risk, progression, and treatment response.

“What makes this research different from other studies is that we are seeking to identify the gap between current treatments and disease outcomes,” Glen Doherty, consultant gastroenterologist at St. Vincent’s, said in a GMI news release. “As we gain a better understanding of the role of genetics in IBD and in an individual’s response to different drug treatments, it will enable a more personalized approach to the treatment of the condition.”

Deirdre McNamaraat Tallaght said the study is of importance as it will allow researchers to gain new insights into the interactions between genes, environment, biology and IBD.

IBD is estimated to affect over 2.5 million people in Europe and one to three million residents in the United States.

According to GMI, around 20,000 people in Ireland have IBD. Ireland also has one of the highest rates of ulcerative colitis (UC) in the world.

In related news

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation announced that it has received $5 million from the Litwin family to fund research on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The grant, funded through Litwin IBD Pioneers, will finance studies on the causes, treatments and possible cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). The full story can be read here.

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