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World Gastroenterology Organisation
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD):
Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease

Dear Colleagues,

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of idiopathic chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions. The two main disease categories are Crohn's Disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), which have both overlapping and distinct clinical and pathological features.

The pathogenesis of IBD is incompletely understood. Genetic and environmental factors such as altered luminal bacteria and enhanced intestinal permeability play a role in the dysregulation of intestinal immunity, leading to gastrointestinal injury. In the absence of knowing definite causes of IBD there are currently several therapies that dampen the aberrant immune response. Some therapies in development are aimed at the gut microbiome. These therapies can range from diet supplements to fecal transplantation. As IBD is increasingly a worldwide disease one challenge will be to determine if therapies proven to be effective in one population will be comparably effective in another. Another challenge will be to facilitate access to novel expensive therapies in lesser privileged countries.

The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) will raise awareness of IBD through its annual public advocacy and awareness campaign, World Digestive Health Day (WDHD). WDHD is celebrated each year on May 29th with associated activities and initiatives continuing throughout and beyond the campaign year. WDHD will provide gastroenterologists, their patients, and the lay public, with an understanding of the latest basic and clinical research in the pathogenesis, investigation and treatment of IBD. This campaign seeks to translate research into clinical practice and facilitate communication between physicians, pharmacists, allied health professionals, healthcare payers, and the public. We want to ensure that patients receive appropriate dietary and lifestyle advice as well as appropriate investigations and treatment, relevant to their condition and circumstances. We want to ensure awareness of the disease and its management is raised in countries where IBD is being increasingly and newly diagnosed.

The WGO's task will be supported by a Steering Committee with a global perspective. The Steering Committee will provide expertise on IBD, guiding the course of the campaign and the development of the educational and training materials, in collaboration with WGO Members Societies, which will define this global initiative and provide the resources to sustain the effort throughout the year.

Through a multi-faceted WDHD 2017 campaign, the WGO seeks to achieve two main goals: firstly, to provide simple messages for the general public in order to assist them in understanding how IBD affects one's daily life and its importance in one's health. Secondly, to develop information for healthcare professionals - both the generalist and the specialist. Multiple information pieces are planned and will be distributed worldwide; the first to launch being a facts and tips guide on living with IBD for patients and healthcare professionals, in multiple languages. The WDHD 2017 campaign is titled "Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease." Please join us in ensuring its success.

     Sincerely,

   Chair, World Digestive Health Day 2017

    Charles Bernstein, MD
    Canada