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A research team led by Prof Alison Simmons at MRC Human Immunology Unit used single-cell technology to identify new players in the gut epithelial barrier.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a disease that affects at least 300,000 people in the UK alone. Its incidence is increasing worldwide, in particular in industrial-urbanised societies. There is no cure for IBD, and while many patients can manage the symptoms with appropriate care, approximately 40% of patients do not respond to available therapies.

Diseases such as IBD develop when the symbiotic relationship between the cells lining the surface of the gut wall and the trillions of bacteria that live inside the gut lumen breaks down. Normally these bacteria are beneficial to our bodies, helping to digest food, training the immune system or preventing harmful bacteria from taking hold. However, in diseases such as IBD, the barrier cell layer that keeps these microorganisms inside the gut lumen breaks down, leading to emergence of harmful bacteria and subsequent inflammation.

Read more (MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine website)

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