New EU Project: Personalised Health Blueprint to Prevent and Predict Inflammatory Bowel Disease

February 27, 2023 - 09:45

Project led by PMI member Prof. Andre Franke aims to empower people affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis by developing interdisciplinary solutions for improved disease prevention and health promotion.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) encompasses two incurable chronic conditions, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, that cause inflammation and damage in the gastrointestinal tract. IBD progresses over time, and molecular changes in the intestine during the asymptomatic stages of the disease precede diagnosis, often by several years. Active engagement of people living with these diseases in self-care and symptom monitoring is a crucial aspect of IBD care alongside clinical management strategies like diagnosis and treatment. However, more personalised patient engagement strategies, preventive measures, and effective digital health tools are urgently needed. Taking on this mission, the new miGut-Health research project strives to empower people living with IBD by creating state-of-the-art strategies for early disease prediction, prevention, and health monitoring. This will be achieved through data-driven approaches, personalised preventive interventions (such as nutritional changes), and innovative eHealth solutions. The ultimate goal of the 12 partners is to kickstart a shift from disease management to prevention. Over the next four years, the miGut-Health project will receive a total of EUR 7.5 million in funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI). The project ist coordinated by Professor Andre Franke, Steering Committee Member of the Cluster of Excellence PMI and Director of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University and the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel.

With over three million people in the EU diagnosed with IBD, the associated annual healthcare costs amount to approximately EUR 5 billion. Moreover, symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, and rectal bleeding can significantly affect an individual’s daily life. IBD’s unpredictable, alternating periods of remission and relapse add to the mental and physical burden of the disease for people affected by IBD.

To diminish this socio-economic burden, miGut-Health researchers will work in three interconnected research areas: determining gut health biomarkers, assessing personalised prevention measures, and development of citizen health engagement strategies.

You can find the full press release here.