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Improving diagnosis leads to better outcomes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Breakthrough IBD research to be presented at the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®

Las Vegas, NV (Feb. 7, 2019) — It is estimated that 3 million Americans live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases. For many patients the path to diagnosis and effective treatment is long and arduous, leading to delayed treatment and increased complications. 

Studies being presented at the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress — a partnership of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association, in Las Vegas, NV, on Feb. 7-9 — reinforces the need for and highlights advances towards improved diagnosis of patients with IBD. 

Most patients wait a year or more for IBD diagnosis, while their disease progresses 
Study title: Delayed Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease is Common and Associated with Increased Risk of Disease Complications 

  • Z. Gallinger, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, et al.

Significance: Diagnostic delay in IBD patients is associated with increased risk of disease complications. Utilizing IBD Partners, a validated online cohort of IBD patients, a survey assessed self-reported diagnostic delay and perceived reasons for delay. Overall, 68 percent of patients reported delayed diagnosis with Crohn’s patients more likely than ulcerative colitis patients to report delays. The most common reason attributed to uncertain or wrong diagnosis. Prolonged delay, greater than two years, is significantly associated with poor outcomes. The study supports the need to further investigate ways to identify approaches to mitigate the delay. 

New biomarker predicts patient prognosis, could make personalized IBD therapy a reality
Study title: A Blood-based Prognostic Biomarker in Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Towards Personalised Medicine in IBD

  • P.A. Lyons, Cambridge Institute of Medical Research

Significance: The course and severity of IBD is unique to the individual patient and varies substantially. The absence of a widely-accepted, predictive diagnostic in clinical practice is a hindrance to disease management, with the potential for over- or under-treatment. This preliminary work on the development and validation of a whole blood qPCR classifier that can predict disease course at diagnosis is a great step towards personalized medicine in IBD. The molecular biomarker is currently being investigated in the first-ever biomarker-stratified trial in any inflammatory disease, to determine whether this biomarker can deliver personalized medicine to patients with Crohn’s disease.

Artificial intelligence could expand patient access to advanced diagnostics
Study title: Using Deep Learning for Automated Grading of Endoscopic Disease Severity in Ulcerative Colitis

  • R.W. Stidham, University of Michigan, et al.

Endoscopic severity of ulcerative colitis predicts clinical outcomes, making it critical for assessing efficacy of new therapies. However, review requires a high level of experience and there is limited availability of trained reviewers. Interpretation is subjective. This study showed the use of a deep learning algorithm and automated analysis to accurately grade the severity of ulcerative colitis from still images and video colonoscopies as compared with the human reviewers. The study shows the novel use of machine learning to overcome the lack of standardization, a contributing factor in the disparity in patient care. This could substantially improve patient access to disease severity assessments where skilled human reviewers are not available.

All abstracts accepted to the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress will be published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases® (the official journal of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation) and Gastroenterology (the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association) on Feb. 7. 

Attribution to the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress® is requested in all coverage. 

Media contacts: 
Jessica Duncan, [email protected], 301-941-2625

Jeanine Kober, [email protected], 646-943-7481 

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress™ 
The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress™, taking place Feb. 7-9, 2019 in Las Vegas, combines the strengths of the nation’s leading IBD patient organization, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and the premier GI professional association, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Together we are committed to convening the greatest minds in IBD to transform patient care. The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is the must-attend meeting for all IBD professionals. Learn more at

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit, call 888-694-8872, or email [email protected]

About the AGA Institute 
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

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