Inflammatory bowel diseases affect 200,000 people in France. Despite this high incidence, these conditions still suffer from a low level of public awareness and are sometimes even a taboo subject.
Worldwide, 2.5 million people suffer from IBD. In France, 120,000 people are affected by Crohn's disease and 80,000 have haemorrhagic rectocolitis; each year, 5,000 to 6,000 new cases are detected, respectively. The first signs of the disease generally occur between the ages of 20 and 40.
These two pathologies are characterized by damage to the digestive tract. Although haemorrhagic rectocolitis only features damage to the large intestine, the whole digestive tract (from the mouth to the anus) may be affected in Crohn's disease. These two diseases can also have manifestations outside the digestive system: joint pain, ulcers, skin damage, eye disorders, etc.
In view of these symptoms, IBDs are poorly accepted and inadequately understood by patients and their family & friends. Inflammatory bowel diseases have a very real negative impact on family, social and professional life.
Currently available treatments can improve quality of life for most patients but do not cure the disease.
Research into understanding the mechanisms involved in the occurrence of these diseases has generated considerable hope for the development of novel drugs. However, it is far from having provided a full response to patients' needs.