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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is actually two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the large intestine, or colon, in which the inner lining of the intestine becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. Crohn’s disease, which can affect parts of the large and small intestines as well as the digestive tract, causes inflammation that extends much deeper into the layers of the intestinal wall and generally damages the entire bowel wall.

Researchers at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) are currently involved in efforts geared towards expanding and refining our understanding of the genetic risk factors involved in inflammatory bowel disease. The research, led by Jacob L. McCauley, Ph.D., director of the HIHG’s Biorepository; and Maria T. Abreu, M.D. chief of gastroenterology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, includes a number of experiments and analyses to understand the role genetic variation plays in the different aspects of IBD.

Once we have a better understanding of the role genetics play in IBD, physicians will be able to implement a personalized medicine program to defeat the disease. The goal is to transform the traditional “one-size-fits-all” model of medicine by applying individual gene-based information to better manage a patient’s disease and to modify strategies for the prevention and treatment.

The Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) Study

The HIHG Biorepository serves as the central biorepository for the multi-center NIH application entitled “Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH)” initiated by Dr. Daniel Woo at the University of Cincinnati. This project will be collecting 1,000 cases of ICH among whites, blacks and Hispanics (3,000 total) and 3,000 demographically matched controls with the long-term goal of performing a genome-wide association study for ICH among blacks and Hispanics. The HIHG Biorepository has created standardized blood collection kits with mailing packets to delivery and receive samples from each of the 14 centers representing 42 different recruitment sites. The Biorepository is responsible for all sample processing (includes DNA extraction), storage, tracking, and allocation for all future work by this collaborative group.