Dr Roslyn Kemp: Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Postgraduate students, Staff
Event type
Microbiology and Immunology

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) comprise multiple types of pathology and affect the quality of life of many thousands of New Zealanders.

IBD pathogenesis involves the immune response, the intestinal epithelium and the host microflora, and is affected and/or initiated by external environmental stimuli such as stress and diet.

IBD is not just a disease of multiple components, it varies widely between individuals. Current therapies include immune suppressants, surgery, antibiotics and newer biological therapies, but predicting patient responses to these drugs is difficult. For example, anti-TNF antibodies are effective in only 30–50 per cent of patients, and at least half of these patients eventually lose responsiveness to the drug.

Because IBD is such a complex disease, it has been difficult to study in vitro or in animal models. We have developed a new in vitro human model to study pathogenesis and treatment of IBD using patient-derived intestinal organoids. Our model system comprises all components of the factors involved in IBD – the epithelial barrier, the local and systemic immune responses, gut bacteria and the ability to add external factors. We use both three-dimensional organoids to study epithelial interactions and the effect of biological therapies, and two-dimensional monolayers to incorporate the immune system, gut bacteria and the epithelium and study new therapies such as probiotics.

Importantly, our research platform provides for the study of individual patients – this means that we have the potential to understand the pathology of disease for each patient and to predict which therapy will be effective for each person.




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