Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is caused by a chronic activation of the immune system in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the cause of which is unknown.

The medical symptoms of IBD include inflammation of the gut, ulceration, abdominal pain, increased stool frequency and bleeding. Patients often experience a poor quality of life with uncontrolled, urgent bowel movements up to 10 or more times a day, which can result in soiling of clothing and bedding. Patients may have to give up work and normal social activities, becoming house bound. Leaving home to attend an appointment at the hospital for treatment can be a significant challenge.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease are the two major forms of IBD. Pouchitis is another form of IBD, which is less common and qualifies as an orphan disease under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) definitions. There are no products licensed for the treatment of pouchitis.

IBD is becoming a major health problem. It is estimated that over 3 million people suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or pouchitis worldwide. The majority live in the United States and Europe however, there is evidence of increasing prevalence in the rest of the world, including Africa, Asia and South America.