19th May: World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day 2020

The focus of World IBD day in 2020 is to “Make IBD work!”. Around 3.4 million people in Europe (10 million worldwide) live with IBD, an umbrella term for the chronic diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which cause inflammation of the digestive system. It is often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, thus impacting younger people of working age. The symptoms of IBD can be painful and disruptive and can therefore impact a persons’ ability to work productively. Hence the theme of World IBD day 2020 – Making IBD work.

World IBD day 2020, led by over 50 patient organisations and coordinated by the European Federation of Crohn´s and Ulcerative Colitis Association (EFCCA), intends to raise awareness of the impact IBD can have on a persons’ professional life. There is a link between employment and positive effects on the general well-being of a person, thus policy makers and employers are being asked to recognise this and implement strategies at the workplace, e.g. teleworking and flexible hours to generate a supportive work environment and Make IBD Work!

To find out more about World IBD 2020 or to get involved with their events please visit their webpage: https://worldibdday.org/

World IBD day also aims to raise awareness about the need to prioritise research into more effective IBD treatments. There are currently no definitive cures for IBD and many of the treatment options can have harmful and unpleasant sides effects. However, stem cell therapy is emerging as a promising regenerative treatment for IBD. Mucosal healing is a key step in treating IBD, preventing the need for invasive surgery or the occurrence of relapse. The use of mesenchymal stem cells has already shown promise in clinical trials for Crohn’s disease (1,2), whilst the development of alternative stem cell sources, such as intestinal stem cell therapy systems, are in the earlier stages of investigation (1). Many questions still remain about the optimal source of cells, as well as the dose and frequency of cell delivery and the mechanism of healing they trigger. The large-scale research initiative RESTORE has made it its mission to make such promising and potentially curative treatments a reality for patients, by facilitating Advanced Therapy approaches to better manage chronic diseases, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, by helping to accelerate the translation of products and technologies into clinical practice.

Please read the reviews below for more information about future therapeutic options for IBD.

  1. https://www.irjournal.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.5217/ir.2019.00043
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40169-019-0251-8