Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions that affect the colon and small intestine, typically resulting in severe abdominal pain, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The most common forms of the disease are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are estimated to affect four million people or more in the United States, Europe and Japan.

There are a variety of therapies currently available for patients that suffer from IBD, including agents such as prednisolone, mesalazine, corticosteroids and the more recently developed anti-TNFα therapies. Unfortunately, for many patients these agents are only effective transiently, while in some patients they fail to work at all. Chronic IBD can be a severely debilitating condition, and advanced cases may require surgery to remove the affected region of the bowel and may also require temporary or permanent colostomy or ileostomy. In many cases, surgery does not achieve a permanent cure, and patients suffer a return of the disease.