There is a critical need for non-invasive tests of Crohn’s disease activity to effectively guide diagnosis and therapy. Changes in the gut bacteria both reflect and contribute to inflammation in Crohn’s disease; however, current diagnostic test including invasive endoscopy or imaging procedures do not provide functional insight into the contribution to the underlying pathogenesis.
Here, we propose a novel, non-invasive blood test for Crohn’s disease that would guide patient therapy and provide mechanistic insight into inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. A large number of small fragments of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) circulate in blood. cfDNA offers a unique window into human physiology, with applications in prenatal medicine, transplant medicine and cancer. Our proposal will test the role for cfDNA from a blood test as a non-invasive measure of gut-specific tissue inflammation and circulating gut bacteria in intestinal and systemic inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.