Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - inflammatory bowel diseases
This research was completed on 10 September 2009
|Project Leader||Professor S R Carding PhD and Dr S M Cruickshank|
|Location||School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds|
|Grant awarded||31 March 2010|
|Start date||11 September 2006|
|End date||10 September 2009|
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Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are increasing in incidence and now affect 1 in 400 people in the UK. The conditions are also becoming more common in children. These are life long disorders that are painful and debilitating. Symptoms include diarrhoea and bleeding, abdominal pain, obstruction and ulceration of the bowel and weight loss. Symptoms are treated with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and anti-spasmodics. The only curative treatment for ulcerative colitis is surgical removal of part of the colon. Research into new therapies to treat IBD is currently restricted by the lack of understanding of how the gut defence (immune) system is controlled. IBD is caused by the body's immune system reacting against the normal gut bacteria. These researchers believe that specialised immune cells called dendritic cells (DCs) that regulate immune responses are involved. They have shown that DCs accumulate within the diseased bowel and that this may be caused by overproduction of a particular substance by the body. Their aim is to determine how bowel DCs work and how this goes wrong in IBD by investigating the effects of bacteria, and various factors on DC function. This will help in the future development of new treatment for these chronic conditions.