Identification of Crohn's Disease Genetic Subtypes, Better Patient Classification and Therapy

New research conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine may advance the characterization of, and treatment selection for, Crohn’s disease, which thus far has been difficult to successfully treat due to individual variances in the severity and course of the disease. The researchers report the discovery of 2 distinct patterns of gene expression in samples of colon tissue taken from Crohn’s patients, a pattern that seems to prevail independently of patient age or prior treatment history. These baseline genomic signatures may be significant, according to the authors, in enabling the development of more effectively targeted treatments for different Crohn’s subtypes. The findings are published in the journal Gut.

Co-senior study author Shehzad Z. Sheikh, MD, PhD, assistant professor in UNC’s departments of medicine and genetics, commented, “The one-treatment-fits-all approach doesn’t seem to be working for Crohn’s patients. It’s plausible that this is because only a subset of patients has the type of disease that responds to standard therapy, whereas, for the rest of the patients, we’re really not hitting the right targets.” But the discovery of these 2 genetic signatures linked to different patterns of clinical illness may open the way to more accurate classification of Crohn’s patients and selection of appropriate therapy. Dr. Sheikh continued, “We hope one day to be able to test Crohn’s patients for the subtype of the disease they have, and thus determine which treatment should work best.”

Read more about the findings here.

The article abstract may be read here.

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