Medicine

Blood and guts, but in a good way

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Science  12 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6449, pp. 136-137
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6449.136-b

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are chronic, sometimes debilitating, disorders of the immune system. The two major forms, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, can be distinguished by endoscopy and imaging, but these methods are invasive and costly, particularly for longitudinal monitoring of disease progression and therapeutic response. Rubin et al. developed a noninvasive, blood-based assay for classification of human IBDs that monitors the subtypes and functions of circulating leukocytes that traffic to the gut in response to breakdown of the intestinal barrier. In a pilot study of 68 individuals, the authors detected immune signatures that differentiated between the two forms of IBD, identified the disease state (flare versus remission), and provided other information about interpatient variability in disease behavior.

Nat. Commun. 10, 2686 (2019).

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