Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Research and Clinical Management

The term “Inflammatory bowel disease” or IBD refers to two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. They are characterized by severe, bloody diarrhea and chronic abdominal pain. About 20 000 – 30 000 young Swiss people suffer from these disabling diseases which dramatically impair the quality of life. IBD has a profound medical, psychosocial and economic impact on affected individuals and on society as a whole. In addition to the need for frequent doctor visits, multiple medications and intermittent hospitalisation, more than 25 percent of patients with IBD require surgery within 10 years of diagnosis. Patients with IBD face the challenge of an unpredictable and potentially embarrassing disease.

Our IBD center is dedicated to diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease patients at the highest level of expertise in the framework of our clinical research unit. Our IBD group provides adult patients with comprehensive medical services, including a team of experienced specialists, leading-edge procedures and access to the latest clinical studies. Our goal is to help patients return to a normal lifestyle as soon as possible and to maintain that lifestyle as long as possible. This can only be achieved by continuous research efforts on the highest level.

Previous medical treatment of both diseases has focused on the nonspecific suppression of the inflammatory process. However, recent advances in basic science research have revealed new insights into the role of specific immune cells and their mediators in intestinal inflammation. As treatments become available to target these abnormalities it will become possible to evaluate the optimum therapy for each patient as an individual.

We are devoted to improving the future care of patients with IBD through continuing research. The IBD group runs a large, specialised research laboratory that is engaged in basic scientific investigations aimed at identifying the causes of IBD and translating those findings into improved treatment options. A special focus is the intestinal barrier and the interaction of the human body with the multitude of bacteria inside the gut. IBD has become a model disease for many other pathophysiological conditions. Ongoing studies designed by the IBD group will help guide effective management for current and future patients.

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