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    Inflammatory Bowel Disease Gene ID'd

    Gene Is Likely One of Several Linked to IBD, Researchers Say

    Next Steps

    Cho and colleagues are continuing their gene studies.

    "Undoubtedly, there are other genes" involved in IBD, Cho says. "We think that there's going to likely be at least several others."

    It will be important to do IBD gene studies in people of other ethnic backgrounds, she notes.

    As for new treatments, drug companies may be able to make antibodies that block the interleukin-23 pathway.

    That strategy would be "very effective at tamping down inflammation, but it might be almost too potent," Cho says. "We have the inflammatory response to fight off infection."

    A better approach might be to mimic the protective gene variant, Cho suggests.

    "You would tamp down inflammation in a way that you're not more prone to develop infections," she says, calling the development of such drugs "a long-term goal."

    Tailoring Treatment

    One day, genetics might help predict IBD's severity in patients and tailor treatment, Cho notes.

    "It's a raging debate in IBD: Are we better off when someone gets newly diagnosed with going with the big guns that potentially have more side effects, or are we better off starting with the safest drug that's maybe not as effective as some of the other ones and stepping up as patients need," she says.

    "If you take a combination of IBD genes and predict these courses, that might be a logical way of individualizing therapies, or at least giving patients more information so that they can make informed decisions about their medical therapies," Cho says.

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