Understanding and predicting medicine resistance

Some medicines used to treat inflammatory bowel disease may not work for some people. Understanding why this happens can help us find more precise ways for people to get the effective treatment they need.


Dr David Ma, Imperial College London

What this research is looking at 

10 million people worldwide live with inflammatory Bowel Disease. There are lots of different medicines to treat these diseases. But for almost half of all people, their medicine may not work very well. This is called medicine resistance. At the moment, it’s difficult to know how people will react to a medicine and whether it will continue to work for them.

In Crohn’s and Colitis, the immune system starts attacking the gut. Scientists think that looking at how different cells in the gut react to the immune system could help us understand why medicines sometimes don’t work for some people.

Researchers will compare the gut and immune cells from two different groups. One group will be made up of samples taken from people who are resistant to a medicine known as ustekinumab. The other group will be made up of samples taken from people who responded well to ustekinumab.

By comparing the two groups, researchers hope to understand more about medicine resistance. The researchers hope to find a genetic difference between the two groups. Once a difference has been found, the researchers will check their findings against a large number of people who took ustekinumab, looking at how accurately they could predict how they responded to this medicine.

What the researchers think this could mean for people with Crohn's 

The researchers hope that this work will lead to the development of tests that can predict how people will respond to certain medicines. This means that there will be a greater chance of success with the treatments that they’re given and a reduced risk of using medicines that they become resistant to.

The researchers also hope that a better understanding of medicine resistance can help us use current medicines more effectively and may lead to the development of new treatments.

Who is leading this research: Dr David Ma, Imperial College London
Our Funding: £99,942.00
Duration: 24 months
Official title of application:Modelling Immune-stromal-epithelial interactions defines a subset of patients with inflammatory bowel disease that does not respond to therapies.

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