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CD - Crohns’ disease, one of the two main components of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is a relapsing systemic inflammatory disease, mainly affecting the gastrointestinal tract with extraintestinal manifestations. CD affects up to 600,000 patients in the US. Despite some temporary improvement in symptoms in response to conventional therapies, it is currently largely refractory, chronic and with debilitating consequences. CD is caused by inappropriate reaction of the immune system to gut microbes that escalates to autoimmune attack of gut self-antigens with the associated pathology and syndromes. This autoimmune attack compromises the gut-blood barrier, leading to further activation of the immune system by leaked microbes, and hence a vicious circle of inflammatory destruction of gut tissues. Although some CD patients may show certain response to current medications including steroids, Ca2+ signaling inhibitors, and antibodies to inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha, newer classes of medications are needed that possess a robust mechanism of action to cover multiple patient strata while displaying minimal side effects.
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