Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation receives $3 million donation to advance precision medicine in IBD

New York, NY -- The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (the Foundation) announced today that it received a $3 million donation from Jonathan D. Rose, MD, PhD, to support two major Foundation research programs: IBD-SIRQC, a national, prospective surgical cohort, and the Jonathan D. Rose, MD, PhD Pathology in Precision Medicine Research Collaborative. An important, shared goal of these two research initiatives is to ultimately design personalized approaches to treating Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC)–specifically through a better understanding of the pathology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  

“We are appreciative of Dr. Rose’s support in helping us advance this area of important research. With so many patients requiring surgery during their disease journey, it’s important that we focus research toward finding new and better treatments and improving patient quality of life,” said Michael Osso, President & CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.  

In addition to causing urgent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, debilitating abdominal pain, and weight loss, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause serious complications, such as fibrosis, fistulas, and bowel obstructions. These complications typically require surgical intervention, and approximately 70% of CD patients and 30% of UC patients will undergo at least one, and often two or more, surgeries during their lifetime.

IBD-SIRQC, a first-of-its-kind research cohort will unite researchers across the country to advance the scientific understanding of the impact of surgery on patient outcomes, accelerate surgical Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis research, and define the natural history and pathological mechanisms of these complex diseases. Despite surgery being so common, only a few studies, to date, have examined the longitudinal nature of the surgical treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Data regarding outcomes in patients who undergo surgery over time will provide unique insights into the pathology of these diseases. 

The Jonathan D. Rose, MD, PhD Pathology in Precision Medicine Research Collaborative will address the challenge of developing human-disease-relevant experimental systems, with the ultimate aim of advancing the testing and development of potential new therapeutics for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

“We believe outcomes from this collaboration will help accelerate science exploring the pathology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, helping answer the most critical questions for our community: What causes disease? And how can it be diagnosed, treated, prevented, and cured?” said Osso

Specifically, through the collaboration, the Foundation will support the research of Cedars-Sinai doctors. Stephan Targan, MD—the Feintech Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and director of the F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute and Robert Barrett, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine, to better understand the biology of fibrosis – the build-up of scar tissue which leads to thickening of the intestinal wall and narrowing of the intestinal tract. Strictures can cause life-threatening obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, dramatically affecting a patient’s quality of life and nearly always requiring surgery. 

“We are excited that the generous support from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and Dr. Rose will help advance Cedars-Sinai’s leading-edge research and ultimately help significantly improve the lives of IBD patients,” said Dr. Targan

Drs. Targan and Barrett’s team is conducting a series of studies using stem cells from IBD patients with fibrosis to generate miniature “gut-like” models, a technology also known as gut-on-a-chip, to better understand how each patient’s genetic blueprint and intestinal microbes contribute to the development of fibrosis. The goal is to identify patient-specific biological pathways leading to fibrotic complications and the discovery of new drug targets for drug development. Development of these new therapies will support a precision medicine approach for personalized and non-invasive management of this complication.  

“As a pathologist and forensic scientist, I cannot overstate the importance of finding solutions to fibrosis and designing personalized approaches for treating IBD. In the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation I have an able partner supporting leading-edge research that I believe will improve the lives of millions of IBD patients,” said Dr. Rose.

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-fueled organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.