The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has received a grant of over $4 million from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support an innovative research project aimed at understanding the early stages of Crohn’s disease before noticeable symptoms develop.
Under the leadership of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences along with the Gastroenterology Department of Dr. Henry D. Janowitz in the medical department of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, the study will be conducted in collaboration with Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
This initiative has established the „PROMISE Consortium“ (PRediction and PRevention through Omics, Microbiome, Immune System, and Environment), which pioneers research in the early stages of Crohn’s disease before clinical symptoms occur. It is the first consortium to comprehensively investigate predictive and preventive aspects through omics- and microbiome-related, immunological, and environmental factors.
Titled „Defining the Pre-Disease Phase of Crohn’s Disease: Prediction and Prevention,“ the study initially focuses on analyzing blood-based biomarkers in healthy individuals before they develop Crohn’s disease, and comparing them to those who continue to remain disease-free.
By evaluating blood samples collected before the diagnosis in multiple cohorts, the goal is to identify unique early biomarkers, differentiating this initiative from conventional approaches that focus on symptomatic stages.
The primary patient collections include the PREDICTS study cohort (incident Crohn’s disease cases in the Defense Medical Surveillance System), the Nurses‘ Health Study (prospective cohort of 250,000 healthcare professionals reporting on diseases for 30 years), and the Genetic, Environmental, and Microbial Study Project cohort (healthy first-degree relatives of Crohn’s disease patients who later developed the disease).
Motivated by the current limitations in Crohn’s disease treatments, which are effective in only about half of the patients, our research aims to redefine our understanding of the disease’s causes. Instead of focusing solely on symptom management, our work aims to predict and prevent the development of Crohn’s disease.“
Inga Peter, PhD, Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Icahn Mount Sinai and Co-Lead Researcher
In collaboration with co-lead researchers Jean-Frédéric Colombel, MD, Ken Croitoru, MDCM, and Hamed Khalili, MD, MPH, the team seeks to revolutionize Crohn’s disease treatment through the identification of biomarkers for increased disease risk. This could enable early monitoring, intervention, and prevention strategies. In addition, insights into Crohn’s triggers and pathways could lead to innovative and more effective treatments for patients with existing diseases. Dr. Colombel is a Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) at Icahn Mount Sinai; Dr. Croitoru is a Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto; and Dr. Khalili is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
„We are grateful for the generous support of our research by the Helmsley Charitable Trust. This initiative aims to change healthcare by focusing on the prediction and prevention of Crohn’s disease and could have significant impacts on vulnerable individuals or those currently facing the challenges of the disease,“ said Dr. Colombel.
In addition to addressing key research questions, the grant will also fund an international conference aimed at bringing together multiple researchers working with other pre-disease cohorts from around the world to develop and advance interception and treatment strategies for Crohn’s disease.
*The Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto is not part of the Mount Sinai Health Systems.
Gesundheitssystem des Mount Sinai