New Study To Look At The Genetics Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

For people battling Inflammatory Bowel Disease — an umbrella diagnosis that includes serious digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis IBD Image — it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

There currently are very few medicines to treat the condition, which affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States.  Those with IBD often feel embarrassed by their symptoms, enduring on their own the severe abdominal pain, cramping, inflammation, and diarrhea that often accompany the condition.

23andMe wants to change that with its new study of IBD.

23andMe is collaborating with Pfizer Inc. to learn more about what role genetics and environment play in the development of IBD as well as how the condition progresses. We hope this research will give scientists new insight into the disease.

“We are excited to team up with Pfizer to take an innovative, consumer-centered approach to understanding the fundamentals of inflammatory bowel disease and the variability of treatment response,” said 23andMe CEO and Co-Founder, Anne Wojcicki.

Eligible Individuals
1. You have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis by a qualified physician.
2. Your willingness to submit a saliva sample for DNA testing and complete online surveys related to your condition.
3. You have access to the internet.
4. You are at least 6 years old (those under 18 require a parental consent to enroll).
5. You are not a current 23andMe customer.*
6. You reside in the United States.*If you are a current 23andMe customer, learn how you can participate here.Learn More

23andMe is using the unique research model that it developed to study other diseases. Our research model is different in that it allows people to participate from home and to do so anonymously. Traditional research often involves travel to clinics or research facilities, blood tests and even drug trials. Because individuals can participate from home using internet access, 23andMe’s research offers people who might not be able to participate otherwise a simple and non-intrusive way to get involved in important research.

Our goal is to enlist 10,000 people in this effort. To those who participate we will give updates not just on the progress of our recruitment efforts but on the status of the research as well. 23andMe can’t promise that this work will lead to a cure or to new treatments but our researchers do pledge to keep participants informed of our work.

You can learn more about this research or how to participate here.  Participants do not just help drive important research – they can also explore their own genetic information using 23andMe’s unique tools.






  • http://www.thesiliconvalleystory.com/ The Silicon Valley Story

    Always glad to see genetics research but it is a disservice to ignore a well respected, low cost, non toxic and very effective substance used in Crohn’s and IBD when discussing these very bothersome illnesses. Stating that almost nothing exists ignores strong possibilities and people are needlessly suffering. (Full Disclosure: I had IBD and after reading the research as well as huge crowd sourced data base of information, I began using this treatment I describe below and within one week, a 3 year problem was gone and has not returned in 9 years).

    There already is a body of research and literature showing how well Crohn’s and IBD respond to low dose naltrexone. Jill Smith, MD from Penn State College of Medicine has published several articles in the Jour of Gastroenterology on her studies. “The 4.5mg daily dose of naltrexone proved to have very positive results, with significant improvements in the Crohn’s Disease Activity Index scores and with substantial healing demonstrated by endoscopy.”

    Low dose naltrexone works by normalizing the immune system, so it works on many autoimmune diseases as well as cancer (you can watch some fascinating videos of an MD/PhD presenting pre and post therapy tumor slides at USC Med, and ldn is in clinical trial for breast cancer and has been in several trials at Stanford med)

    Also, recent research has shown that C-sections contribute to a greater chance of autoimmune illness – perhaps IBD is environmental as well as genetic?

    QUOTE: ” Children delivered by cesarean section (C-section) may end up with hampered immune systems, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and published in theJournal of Immunology on July 10, 2014.”

    • kansas2

      I’m glad you posted this. I completely agree. I, too, have had very successful results with LDN (and don’t even take it at the full 4.5 mg dose). I had symptoms for 7 years before being diagnosed with UC, and immediately following diagnosis, tried the standard steriod/anti-inflammatory treatment, but still had moderate to significant symptoms after phasing off of steriods. Within 2 weeks of beginning LDN treatment, I had no more symptoms. Now, 3 years later, I continue symptom-free. Not only has LDN been a more effective treatment for me than standard treatment options were, it doesn’t have the serious side effects of other treatments.

      I wish more people followed Dr. Jill Smith’s studies out of Penn State — the findings are significant. Sadly though, any doctor that I’ve been to has been unaware of them and I’ve had to provide them myself (some have been open-minded to them; others have not).

      So glad you’re doing well! I hope others are also able to benefit from LDN treatment. (And I’m with you — not opposed to further research at all — but think we should be putting more funding and research behind this as it’s proven to be a viable treatment option without side effects.)

  • David Ebert

    Any plans to include people from Europe?

    • Scott23H

      Hi David,
      Not at the moment, although we hope that everyone with IBD will benefit from the research.

  • Bart_in_Va

    Do I understand that 23andme members are excluded because you already have our DNA and our answers to the various questions regarding IBD?

    • Scott23H

      Bart,
      Currently, existing 23andMe customers cannot join the Pfizer IBD Research Initiative.

      However, you CAN still contribute to IBD research by filling out online surveys that ask about things like IBD symptoms, medications and treatments received. Click here to go to the IBD survey and get started contributing to research.

      • Bart_in_Va

        Er, I’ll try again. Why cannot 23andMe customers join the Pfizer IBD study?

        • Scott23H

          Hi Bart,
          It’s partly an issue of consent. Participating in our IBD study with Pfizer requires a different consent than what our current customers agreed to.

  • 23blog

    Malachi,
    At some point, we hope to publish findings but there is a lot of work to be done to get to that point.

  • susan l fox

    I was diagnosed with Crohns but later told that I do not nor have ever had it. I was diagnosed with IBS/GERD/Acid reflux. The symptoms are the same just a different name.

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