Funding boost for research into finding new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease

Research into finding new personalised treatments for inflammatory bowel disease has received funding to analyse and predict patient responses to drugs, and volunteers are needed to take part.

The University of Nottingham will receive over £1m from AstraZeneca for a research program to establish patient cohorts in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The project will segment IBD patient populations based on their underlying drivers of disease to analyse and predict response to treatment. Within three years, the project will evaluate clinical information and biosamples from 240 volunteer patients as they start treatment with a currently approved therapy for IBD. The data will be analysed to inform ongoing clinical trials and help to develop new precision medicines.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease that cause a range of symptoms including: diarrhea and constipation, fatigue, cramping and joint and bone problems. Around 500,000 people in the UK are living with this lifelong disease. There are a range of medications available to help manage the symptoms of the disease alongside changes to diet, however the success of treatments varies between individuals.

Patients will be invited to take part in this research as part of their current clinical care during a colonoscopy appointment. Harnessing this data will build an understanding of an individual’s response to treatments relative to their underlying disease and provide vital information to help with the development of new, precision medicines that are more targeted and can be matched to people who will most benefit.

Dr Gordon Moran from the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine said: “Being able to predict responses to drug treatments is vital in the development of personalised medicines. If we can understand why some people respond the way they do and why they might have a better or worse outcome than others then we can really start to pinpoint how the drugs work with individuals.

“Although there are quite a few options of drugs for these diseases they can be very expensive and have varying levels of effectiveness, we want to understand these variations in response so we can make accurate predictions to improve future treatments.”

Dr. Adam Platt, VP and head of Translational Science and Experimental Medicine, Early Respiratory and Immunology at AstraZeneca, said: “We are excited about this collaboration with the University of Nottingham as it will allow us to identify currently underserved patient populations and their drivers of disease. This will help enable the development of a new generation of Precision Medicine Therapeutics, tailored to the unmet needs of IBD patients.”

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