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Title: Biomarker discovery in inflammatory bowel diseases
Author: Kalla, Rahul
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 8897
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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There is an unmet need for novel biomarker discovery in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) to aid clinical management in several clinical settings including diagnosis and prognosis. With an ever-advancing repertoire of biological therapies on the horizon, it is important to personalise treatments at an early stage. The aim of this thesis is to explore the clinical utility of novel blood-based biomarkers in diagnosis, disease classification and prognosis in 2 cohorts: newly diagnosed IBD and acute severe colitis. Investigating the circulating methylome, 290 probes exhibited Holm significant IBD-associated methylation differences, including VMP1/MIR21 (p=7.5×10-14) and RPS6KA2 (1.1×10-19) and were consistent within the European cohort. 11 Differentially methylated positions (DMPs) predicted treatment escalation after Holm adjustment (top probe p=0.003). A panel of 6 probes identified 2 patient subgroups that have significantly different disease courses (Hazard Ratio (HR) 10.5, 95%CI: 4.3-25.6; logrank p=1.5×10-24). The 6 probe marker outperformed conventional biomarkers in predicting treatment escalation (hsCRP > 4mg/L, HR 3.2(1.7-5.8), logrank p=0.0004 and Alb < 36g/L, HR 2.9(1.5-5.6), p=0.0001). Within the same cohort, a novel proximity extension assay (PEA) was then utilised to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic protein markers. 61 proteins were significantly associated with IBD including MMP12 (Holm-adjusted p=4.1×10-26). A total of 9 proteins predicted disease course in this cohort. Using a panel of 7 randomly selected top prognostic probes, 2 patient groups were identified that had significantly different disease courses: logrank p=2.2×10-10, HR 5.6(2.0-15.6), outperforming conventional biomarkers in predicting treatment escalation (hsCRP > 4mg/L, HR 3.2(1.7- 5.8), logrank p=0.0003 and Alb < 36g/L, HR 2.7(1.4-5.2), p=0.0004). In a subcohort, serum calprotectin (SC) and conventional blood markers were investigated for their utility in diagnosis and prognosis in IBD. SC performed at par with CRP at differentiating IBD from controls with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.87 (CI 0.81-0.92). For prognostication, both albumin and SC remained significant predictors of treatment escalation in IBD (logrank test p=5.1×10-5). MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small non-coding nucleic acids that have the capacity to modulate gene expression. Using small RNA sequencing in acute severe colitis (ASUC) and healthy controls (HC), 10 serum-based miRNA markers were significantly associated with acute severe colitis, including miR-30a-5p. Validating the findings using qPCR, miR-30a-5p was downregulated in ASUC (p=0.003). Furthermore, miR30a-5p remained a significant predictor of eventual colectomy in acute colitis (logrank test p=0.0014). These data highlight the translational potential for methylation, miRNA and proteomic biomarkers in diagnosing and prognosticating in IBD.
Supervisor: Satsangi, Jack ; Buck, Amy ; Nimmo, Elaine Sponsor: European Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease ; IBD ; ulcerative colitis ; Crohn’s disease ; biomarkers ; diagnosis ; blood-based biomarkers ; miRNAs