Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Opens DNA Data Bank

Powerful New Resource to Advance Understanding of Disease Genetics

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At the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation we believe that genetic research has the potential to advance our understanding of the etiologies and natural histories of the various forms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

New York, New York (Vocus) September 25, 2009

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation today announced the launch of its DNA Data Bank, a newly created resource containing DNA samples and detailed phenotype data on a large number of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients. Enhancing research into genetic markers and determinants that affect risk for these diseases (collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD), is a priority for researchers seeking to understand the underlying disease process in order to improve disease treatment and prevention.

"At the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation we believe that genetic research has the potential to advance our understanding of the etiologies and natural histories of the various forms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," says Marjorie Merrick, Vice President of Research for the Foundation. "The launch of the DNA Data Bank symbolizes that we are within reach of our long term goal of improving treatment and minimizing the overall impact of Crohn's and colitis."

Affecting over 1.4 million Americans of all ages, lifetime risk for developing IBD is 10 to 20 times higher for close family members (siblings or offspring) of persons with IBD than it is for the general population. This strongly suggests that genetic factors may play an important role in determining whether an individual develops IBD.

Blood samples were obtained from patients with well-characterized Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Samples were then collected from each patient's parents, or, if one or both parents were deceased, from unaffected age- and sex-matched controls sampled from the general population. Immortalized cell lines were produced from most of the blood samples and high-quality DNA was derived primarily from those cell lines. For a small proportion of the samples the patient's cell line immortalization failed and whole genome amplified (WGA) DNA is available instead.

The new databank, which has been made possible through a generous gift from The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, is available to qualified investigators in the scientific community for innovative studies of genetic markers related to IBD. Interested investigators may view available phenotype data elements, obtain summaries of the numbers of affected patients and family or population controls, and submit research proposals at the DNA Data bank website, http://www.CCFADatabank.org.

About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. As the largest worldwide funding organization of pediatric IBD programs, the Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance and the American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit the CCFA web site at http://www.ccfa.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ariella Levine
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
646-943-7430

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