Inflammatory Bowel Disease
In the absence of treatment, the diseases progress in 88% of cases into these invalidating forms that will necessitate a surgical intervention.
Through our expertise in the field of inflammatory diseases, we are proud to contribute to the development of new therapeutic solutions for these chronic intestinal diseases.
In close collaboration with experts in the IBD field, we have initiated a major scientific program to evaluate our products in this patholoy, and to identify those that could potentially become novel IBD treatments.
The diseases associated with a chronic inflammation of the intestinal wall, commonly designated as IBD (for Inflammatory Bowel Disease), are characterized by alternating periods of flare-ups and remission.
IBD includes 2 major types that are distinguished by their clinical symptoms, localization of the inflammatory zones, and lesion depth:
- Crohn’s diseases (CD) can affect the whole digestive system from the mouth all the way down to anus. CD represents 40 to 50% of inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is more localized and affects the rectal region but can extend to the colon.
Globally, in 2012, 6.5 million people suffered from IBD, of which a majority (4.4 million) were in the United States and Europe. IBD prevalence is expanding worldwide, with a significant increase in Japan (+10% per year). By 2025, it is estimated that more than 10 million people worldwide will be affected by inflammatory bowel diseases.
The causes are still unknown but it is generally believed that IBD are multifactorial diseases that integrate both genetic predisposition and environmental factors, which ultimately lead to a dysregulated immune response, and inflammation and fibrotic processes.
There is no cure for IBD and the current treatments aim to relieve the symptoms and to prevent the relapses. It is estimated that the existing therapeutic solutions, including the use of anti-TNFα antibodies allow to control in the long term 25 to 30% of IBD cases.
With a prevalence in the order of 150 cases per 100 000 persons, Crohn’s disease is considered as moderately prevalent. There is a preponderance of teenagers and young adults and the majority of cases are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40 years.
Symptoms appear when the disease flares up and include abdominal pain (that could be very intense after a meal), and chronic diarrhea. The flares may be accompanied by fever or can even lead to involuntary weight loss. An all too common symptom is a persisting fatigue. The impact of the disease on the quality of life can lead to bouts of depression.
The complications associated with CD are diverse and include intestinal narrowing/occlusion, fissures or crevices, perforations (fistula), peritonitis, toxic megacolon (toxic dilation), or severe colitis. There is also an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer after having IBD for 10 years.
The current treatments (which consist essentially of corticoids, immunosuppressive agents, or anti-TNFα antibodies) help to control the disease in 30% of the patients.
However, between 50 to 70% of the patients will require a surgical intervention in the first 10 years. In contrast to UC, surgery will remove the lesions but will not cure the disease, and currently 80% of patients have a relapse of symptoms only a few months after surgery. Hence, new drug therapies aimed to prevent post-surgical relapses are also needed.