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HomeApril 1-14, 2024RCSI-Serosep partnership aims topredict progression of ulcerative colitis

RCSI-Serosep partnership aims topredict progression of ulcerative colitis

A new partnership between RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Irish diagnostics company Serosep Ltd. is set to personalise treatment for ulcerative colitis and ultimately improve quality of life for patients with the condition.

 Under the new alliance, RCSI researchers will work with Serosep to accelerate the development of new tests to help predict disease progression in ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease that damages the lining of the gut over time. The condition causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

 The project will develop technology to identify ulcerative colitis patients who are likely to progress in their disease, ensuring that people get the most effective care for their disease, and sparing people treatments where they are not likely to be of benefit to them. The partnership between Serosep and RCSI is co-funded by Serosep and the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme.

 At present, medications known as 5-Aminosalicylates (5-ASA) are the most common first line of treatment for mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis, and as the disease progresses, it is typically managed with steroids, immunosuppressants and biological drugs. There is a pressing need to develop accurate biomarker-based methods to identify the best treatment regimes for patients soon after diagnosis.

 “Currently there are no biomarkers which allow prediction of disease progression in patients with ulcerative colitis,” explained Dr Sudipto Das, Lecturer and Principal Investigator at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.“Having such biomarkers could augment decision-making for clinicians about whether the patient could benefit from an escalation of treatment at an early stage of the disease.”

Dr Das’s team will work with Serosep to validate specific ulcerative colitis biomarkers that the RCSI group has identified in the lab. The plan is to create a new in vitro diagnostic solution that can support clinicians as they make decisions about the most suitable treatment for the patient based on a panel of biomarkers that can be measured and tracked in samples of their tissue and potentially in the blood as well.

“Through recent work in our lab we have identified specific genes that can potentially predict disease progression in adult ulcerative colitis patients,” said Dr Das. “This partnership will allow us to further validate these genes in a larger cohort of patient samples and enable development of a test that can be applied in the clinic to identify patients who are likely to progress at an early stage of disease. This in turn would allow early treatment for those patients, and sparing patients who are less likely to progress from unnecessary treatment. The ultimate impact of this test would be to improve quality of life in patients with ulcerative colitis.”

For further information: Jane Butler, janebutler@rcsi.ie

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