Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis innovative therapy development
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of inflammatory bowel diseases. To date, these are incurable diseases which deteriorate the quality of the patient’s life. These patients suffer several flares of intestinal inflammation activity, which in most cases involve hospitalization and periods of convalescence that affect both their life’s quality and their social and work environment.
The onset of these intestinal diseases are usually between 16 and 30 years old, and a majority of affected individuals progress towards a chronic disease for the rest of their lives. The onset in pediatric age is not an isolated event but is considered a symptom of increased incidence of these diseases. In any case, during the long period of these inflammatory diseases, complications such as fistulae, intestinal obstruction or loss of response to treatment could appear. Despite the high therapeutic arsenal available today, a curative pharmacological therapy does not exist and the benefits of these have suboptimal response in a high number of patients. Even, resective surgery as a rescue therapy in Crohn's disease is not a definitive solution because after some time the disease reappears in parts of the gut which were not initially affected.
One of the main drawbacks of science to improve the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease is that the precise etiology remains unclear. Some genetic mutations that could reduce the control that the immune system exerts on intestinal bacteria have been recently identified, which produce an uncontrolled inflammation that damages the intestinal tissue.
With the aim of finding solutions to improve the management of inflammatory bowel disease, more than 25 years ago the Gastroenterology Department of Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital created a specialized research unit. Intensive research conducted over the years has allowed us to participate in the discovery of the first gene mutation strongly associated with the risk of developing this disease, as well as its diagnostic and therapeutic improvement. More recently, we have characterized a series of molecular changes that precede the flare-up in Crohn's disease. The changes linked to remodeling and recovery of damaged areas generate specific signals from the inflammatory focus which can be detected by specific proteins.
Based on the above premises, we have devised a potential therapeutic modality capable of directing anti-inflammatory drugs or hormones into the affected bowel’s exact location. Essentially, we aim to develop a carrier of a specific therapy able to recognize the signals discussed above. This proposal could prevent drug distribution to the rest of the body, increasing their effectiveness and reducing side effects, which are key aspects for effective treatment of these chronic diseases.
Our study is a proof of concept and risk, and is an alternative to all therapies currently in development. Because of that, the obtaining of public or private funding is extremely complicated. However, we believe that the project has a powerful experimental and theoretical basis, and if we can prove our hypothesis, we would develop new and more effective therapies for the treatment of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For these reasons, we decided to obtain funding through crowdfunding, sharing our scientific concerns with society fin order to gain their support and to share our progress with society. In this sense, the first support we have received has been from the Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients’ society (ACCU) from Catalonia, who endorse the project and is actively involved in the organization and dissemination of the crowdfunding campaign.
What we will be doing with your contributions
If we get the expected amount, it will be donated to the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Unit from the "Germans Trias i Pujol" Research Institute Foundation (Badalona, Spain). Specifically, the amount obtained will allow us to carry out the planned research work and to hire a pre-doctoral researcher for one year.
All contributions will receive a distinguished mention in our scientific blog inflamatoriahugtp.blogspot.com.es. Contributions greater than 20 € will be invited to a coffee session in our lab where we will share our project progress. Moreover, other contributions will receive solidary gifts (bracelets, mugs, shirts, etc.) for inflammatory bowel disease research, which are on sale in MissBowell.com.
Given that it is a preliminary approach, the proposed study will take place during a year and a half. During this time, several protein-drug conjugates will be tested in preclinical disease models to test their effectiveness. Patrons displaying their solidarity by financially supporting the project will receive a report of the study progress via email.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red
Fundació Institut d’Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol