Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders that are all characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation. Complications can be severe and in rare cases, IBD might even lead to mortality. IBD affects approximately 0.2% of the human population with a higher prevalence in Europe. The main types of IBD are Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). IBD appears to result from a deregulated mucosal immune system combined with a compromised intestinal epithelial barrier function in genetically predisposed individuals.
Current treatment options of patients with IBD are mainly aimed at suppressing the immune response, i.e. treatment of the symptoms rather than targeting the root cause of the affliction. However, although reasonably effective, treatment failures and significant side effects such as bone demineralization, growth retardation, diabetes, and hypertension often occur. This clearly stresses the need for novel treatment options in the treatment of IBD.
Another problem is that no specific, non-invasive test exists to monitor IBD disease activity. Currently, patients have to undergo endoscopy, which is a burden for the patient, but may also present complications, such as bleedings and infections.
The above illustrates that there is an urgent need for further multi-disciplinary research, in order to develop novel and improved IBD diagnostic and treatment options.
The present training project proposal will bring together skills, experiences and (fundamental, translational and commercial) knowledge both from industry and academia, in the context of an innovative research project on novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for IBD and provides further education and training to a large group of researchers.