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Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (12)


Laurence J. Egan, Ireland

Associate Editors

Maria T. Abreu, USAShomron Ben-Horin, IsraelSilvio Danese, ItalyPeter Lakatos, HungaryMiles Parkes, UKGijs van den Brink, NLSéverine Vermeire, Belgium


Published on behalf of

Future directions in inflammatory bowel disease management

Geert R. D'Haens, R. Balfour Sartor, Mark S. Silverberg, Joel Petersson, Paul Rutgeerts
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2014.02.025 726-734 First published online: 1 August 2014


Background and aims Clinical management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), new treatment modalities and the potential impact of personalised medicine remain topics of intense interest as our understanding of the pathophysiology of IBD expands.

Methods Potential future strategies for IBD management are discussed, based on recent preclinical and clinical research.

Results A top-down approach to medical therapy is increasingly being adopted for patients with risk factors for severe inflammation or an unfavourable disease course in an attempt to halt the inflammatory process as early as possible, prevent complications and induce mucosal healing. In the future, biological therapies for IBD are likely to be used more selectively based on personalised benefit/risk assessment, determined through reliable biomarkers and tissue signatures, and will probably be optimised throughout the course of treatment. Biologics with different mechanisms of action will be available; when one drug fails, patients will be able to switch to another and even combination biologics may become a reality. The role of biotherapeutic products that are similar to currently licensed biologics in terms of quality, safety and efficacy – i.e. biosimilars – is at an early stage and requires further experience. Other therapeutic strategies may involve manipulation of the microbiome using antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, diet and combinations of all these approaches. Faecal microbiota transplantation is also a potential option in IBD although controlled data are lacking.

Conclusion The future of classifying, prognosticating and managing IBD involves an outcomes-based approach to identify biomarkers reflecting various biological processes that can be matched with clinically important endpoints.

  • Algorithms
  • Biosimilars
  • Crohn's disease
  • Microbiome
  • Prognostics
  • Ulcerative colitis
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