The incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Canada are at critical levels. Today, 1 in every 150 people has IBD, making it a national health priority. The need to understand the root origins of this disease and to use this information to invigorate a new pipeline of treatments and preventions has never been more pressing. It is now accepted that Crohn’s disease, a major form of IBD, is an inflammatory disease driven by microbes in our gut. However, mechanisms by which pathogenic or commensal microbes work in concert with each other and with host factors to drive this inflammation are not well known.
Coombes lab scientists are conducting basic research and working with the private sector to understand the microbes that drive chronic inflammation during Crohn's disease, with a particular focus on adherent-invasive E. coli that are linked to Crohn's disease in humans. Using cell and animal models, we are understanding how the host responds to AIEC over chronic timescales. With investment in this area, breakthrough research with direct applications to clinical practice and public health can be expected.