Working to Improve the Standard of Care in IBD Across Europe

Stories@Gilead - February 12, 2020

Ulrik G.W. Mørch knows how devastating an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) diagnosis can be. IBD represents two conditions – ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) – which can cause similar symptoms for those living with the diseases. After a close relative was diagnosed with CD, Ulrik said it took years to find a treatment option that worked for him. The disease progressed rapidly, and he was forced to drop out of college.

IBD is estimated to affect 2.5 million people in Europe. Ulrik is now part of a team at Gilead in Europe working to advance the care of people like his relative.

“His story, along with those of the countless others I’ve met, reminds me every day to try and achieve more for people living with this debilitating disease,” says Mørch, Director, Medical Affairs at Gilead. “One of the biggest challenges faced by people with IBD is the wide variation in awareness and understanding of the disease, which can lead to disparity in the way it is diagnosed and managed.”

IBD is a progressive disease, so early diagnosis and access to a range of treatment options are key to improving outcomes. However, while some treatment advances have occurred to help slow down disease progression, there is no cure and no single treatment that works for everyone. The need for new and effective treatment options that can work for more people with IBD is crucial.

For those living with moderate to severe IBD, the effects of the disease can have a significant impact on their daily lives and lead to intense pain and fatigue. Some people living with IBD may be embarrassed to talk about their symptoms and delay seeking help. Others report feeling depressed and isolated from society, friends and family because they are too scared to leave the house for fear that they will be unable to get to a bathroom quickly.

In partnership with Galapagos, Gilead is focusing on the pursuit of new, innovative approaches to help improve the lives of those living with the disease.

“To meaningfully advance care for people living with IBD, we know we can’t do it alone,” says Keith Aizen, Executive Director, Medical Affairs at Gilead. “IBD needs innovation and we are excited to be working together with Galapagos and physicians across Europe, with the goal of helping to improve the lives of those living with IBD.”