Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Assessment of metabolism of intestinal bacteria helps predict treatment success

July 31, 2019 - 08:00

Members of the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI) i.a. Dr. Konrad Aden, Prof. Dr. Stefan Schreiber and Prof. Dr. Philip Rosenstiel have developed a new approach for personalized medicine in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.


People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, suffer from chronic diarrhea, fever and pain, as well as psychological stress. In Germany, around 320,000 people are affected. On the functional level IBD is characterized by disturbed immune response in the gastrointestinal tract leading to a chronic inflammation, which clinically present as flares of disease activity.

Targeted therapies using antibodies directed against key molecules of the inflammatory pathway, such as anti-TNF antibodies, are established therapies in IBD. As a consequence inflammation is dampened leading to the absence of clinical symptoms, defined as a clinical remission. However, these drugs – commonly referred as “biologicals”- do not work in all patients. A substantial proportion of patients does not benefit from biologic treatment at all, while in other patients, clinical efficacy, despite initial treatment success, fades away over treatment time. Optimizing individual treatment success prediction would represent significant progress, for both doctors as well as the affected patients.

Members of the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI) have taken a major step towards this goal, in a study published in the renowned scientific journal "Gastroenterology". The scientists from fundamental research and the clinic of the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University (CAU) and the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel, wanted to investigate whether treatment with biologicals influences the intestinal microbiome, i.e. the totality of all microorganisms living in the intestine, in IBD patients, and whether this can provide information about individual treatment success.


More Information here.