Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients are all too familiar with the fact that there is no known cause of either disease. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read the line, “The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is a result of genetic and environmental factors.” No shit, eh? But what exactly are those genetic and environmental aspects? The people at 23andMe, a DNA ancestry service, are working to find that out.
Along with Pfizer Inc., 23andMe is looking to recruit 10,000 IBD patients for a massive study on the genetic factors involved in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. A better understanding of the genetic makeup of IBD patients can lead to more effective treatment options, and maybe, if we get lucky and work tremendously hard, a cure.
From the 23andMe website:
Genetics could provide insight as to why some people are more likely to get IBD and why people respond differently to treatment options and drugs.
Our research objective is to understand the genetic associations found between IBD patients’ DNA and their disease, and apply this understanding to Pfizer’s drug development efforts.
All you need to do to participate in this study is spit into a tube (which will provided for you) and spend 15 minutes clicking through an online survey. Easy peasy.
But wait, there’s more! In addition to furthering IBD research, you’ll receive access to 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service so you can learn about your genetic ancestry.
My only bone of contention with the survey is that it’s only open to residents of the United States, and as such, I can’t participate. What? You don’t want my Canadian saliva? Worried it’s full of free healthcare and hockey supremacy? Fine.
All jokes aside, this is a big, important research project that I hope you or someone you know can partake in it. For more details on the study, and to enroll yourself, head over to 23andme.com/ibd.
Image via Spirituality, Dreams and Prophecy