Targeting lymphatic function in gut inflammation

Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) that are characterised by chronic and aberrant mucosal immune response. Factors including genetic susceptibility, environmental factors, dysregulation in gut immune cells and microbiota have been shown to contribute to the IBD progression. Recent studies also suggest the involvement of vascular dysfunction in IBD. While the pathogenic role of blood vessel proliferation is well defined, the changes in lymphatic function in IBD are less understood.

Despite the improvements in diagnostic modalities and treatments for IBD, a substantial proportion of patients are either at the refractory phase of the available treatments or develop colitis-associated cancer. New therapeutic targets of IBD are thus necessary to manage the disease more adequately.

The project aims to:

1. Investigate the changes in lymphatic function and the associated mechanism in IBD
2. Explore lymphatic therapeutic targets to treat IBD