Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s IBD Plexus Platform Confirms Findings on Need for Personalized Approach in Use of 5-ASA in Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Published: May 30, 2023
June 1, 2023, New York, NY – IBD Plexus, an innovative resource from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, played a pivotal role in enabling the execution of a new study published recently in Nature Medicine with important implications for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study identifies possible microbial factors associated with the diminishing efficacy of 5-ASA, a commonly prescribed IBD treatment in many patients. IBD Plexus combines data and biosamples from tens of thousands of IBD patients from 90 institutions across the U.S and makes that data available to researchers in industry, academia, and more. By sharing this information with researchers in a single data repository, IBD Plexus is accelerating the discovery of scientific insights into the causes and treatments of IBD and scaling up such findings by allowing multiple researchers, working on different research questions, to use this rich data source.
Despite being one of the most frequently prescribed therapies available for IBD, over half of IBD patients fail to respond or eventually lose response to 5-ASA over time. 5-ASA stands for 5-aminosalicylic acid, also known as mesalamine, which is a medication used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, including conditions like ulcerative colitis. Available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, enemas, and suppositories, it works as an anti-inflammatory agent in the gut and can help treat mild to moderate symptoms of IBD. Doctors often use 5-ASA as a first-line treatment for IBD because of its safety and frequent efficacy in reducing symptoms and preventing relapse of the disease.
The varying effectiveness has been attributed, in part, to reactions with gut microbes, but prior to this study, the specific microbes and microbial enzymes had not yet been identified. This important new research finds that four commonly present enzymes produced by the gut microbiome may predict a patient’s response to 5-ASA. These results confirm the usefulness of IBD Plexus in advancing precision medicine, which will guide the optimal choice of treatment for IBD patients.
This study into 5-ASA and the gut microbiomes that affect its efficacy was co-led by Raaj Mehta, MD, and Jared S. Mayers, MD, of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, and the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, along with support from other researchers.
“This research showcases the power of the Foundation’s IBD Plexus platform and the SPARC IBD study, both of which are acting as accelerators to speed the advancement of IBD science on a scale than has never been possible to date,” said Angela Dobes, Vice President, IBD Plexus, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “Given that treatment failure can be common with 5-ASA, these findings are critical to answering why the efficacy of 5-ASA as an IBD therapy can vary for different patients. This critical research shows the promise of microbiome-based precision medicine and necessity of individualized precision medicine in treating IBD.
To read the study, “Gut microbial metabolism of 5-ASA diminishes its clinical efficacy in inflammatory bowel disease,” visit https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02217-7.
About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with the mission of curing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and of improving the quality of life of the millions of Americans living with IBD. The Foundation’s work is dramatically accelerating the research process through investment in research initiatives, while also providing extensive educational and support resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public. For more information, visit crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email [email protected].
Rachel Peifer: [email protected]
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with the mission of curing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD. The Foundation’s work is dramatically accelerating the research process, while also providing extensive educational and support resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public.