The European Union, in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), has approved a project led by IDIBAPS-Hospital Clinic with the aim to validate the IBDchip within the European Community. Being the world's first diagnostic DNA chip, it has the main object to predict prognosis and response to therapy of patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. The programme has a 2.5 million Euro budget for the next three years for conducting several studies including a total of 3,000 - 4,000 patients in seven European countries. A consortium including seven leading European centres in inflammatory diseases and genetics; an enterprise with the technology for manufacturing the chip; and a leading enterprise in laser technology, in charge of optimizing the reading of the chips, has been created for conducting this project (see Annex). This consortium is coordinated by Dr. Miquel Sans, researcher of the IDIBAPS Physiopathology of Gastrointestinal Lesions Group and member of the Gastroenterology Facility of Hospital Clinic de Barcelona.
The IBDchip (Inflammatory Bowel Disease DNA Chip) is a DNA chip especially developed by the Basque company Progenika Biopharma in collaboration with Dr. Miquel Sans of Hospital Clinic. The chip is a simple device requiring only a small blood sample. The DNA is obtained from this sample, which is placed in a glass support (the IBDchip) for the detection of 61 mutations, using laser technology.Crohn's disease and colitis ulcerosa are highly heterogenic pathologies with unpredictable clinical course and drug response. The prevalence of these diseases has significantly increased in developed countries during the last decades. In Spain, more than 100,000 people are affected, and the incidence of the disease is 15-20 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants and year. The number of patients in Europe rises to 1.5 million. 15 % of patients have at least one relative suffering from one of these pathologies, which involve an important loss of quality of life. The treatment costs are of 7,382 Euros per year and patient, meaning a total cost of 1,000 million Euro per year for the public healthcare system. Thus, a device allowing a reliable prediction of the clinical course and the probability of response to several treatments in each patient would be highly useful.(Source: Hospital Clinic de Barcelona : December 2006.)