Microbiome Research Transforming the Field of IBD

What is the Microbiome?

Approximately 90% of the cells that are on and inside your body aren’t you. Those cells are the trillions of microscopic bacteria and viruses that make up the human microbiome. The gut’s microbiome contains a mix of enormously complex bacteria, viruses and fungi – but only a limited number of these microbial agents have been identified and their functions are still largely unknown.

Why is it Important for IBD Research?

CCFA’s innovative gut microbiome research has conclusively identified a link between IBD patients’ genes and the composition of their gut bacteria. We now know that a person’s genetics can affect which gut bacteria they host. We are on the path to understanding how specific bacteria, viruses and fungi cause disease in people whose genes are susceptible to inflammatory bowel disease. This can lead to new strategies to treat and prevent IBD.

There is more to come

CCFA’s Microbiome Initiative is digging even deeper. Researchers want to know which specific gut bacteria are associated with triggering IBD flares. This knowledge will help generate new ways to prevent disease relapses – including immunization, antibiotics, dietary modification, probiotics, etc.

CCFA’s research also aims to create bacterial profiles. With a better understanding of the nature of each IBD-associated bacteria, we can begin to predict the course of the disease in each individual patient with IBD. That way, physicians can create custom courses of treatment that address the aggressiveness of a particular patient’s disease. Physicians will be able to forecast which types of treatments will be best suited to the patient’s microbiome, better anticipate their response to treatment and avoid risk of complications.