Clinical and Mechanistic Characteristics of Current JAK Inhibitors in IBD

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2021 Oct 18;27(10):1674-1683. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izaa318.

Elleni J Pippis 1, Bruce R Yacyshyn 2


Author information

1Gilead Sciences, Inc. Medical Affairs, Foster City, CA, USA.

2Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.


Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are chronic, immune-mediated diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Their etiology is complex and involves immune (eg, cytokines) and nonimmune (eg, environment) mediated contributions, causing inflammatory damage to the GI tract. Though cytokines contribute a major role in the inflammatory process of both CD and UC, there are some key differences in which cytokines are involved in the pathobiology of CD and UC. Over the past several years, new biologic-directed therapies have focused on controlling specific aspects of inflammation associated with both conditions. Although these treatments have benefited patients overall, approximately 30% of patients still do not respond to induction (initial) therapy, and up to 50% of patients lose response to treatment over a year. Many of these therapies are administered parenterally and have been associated with adverse events such as serious infections or malignancy. Therefore, there is a significant unmet medical need for these patients to minimize symptoms and promote GI healing. There are several therapeutic agents in the pipeline, including oral, small molecules, which hold much promise. One group of small molecules known as Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors offers an additional option for treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions, based on currently available data. The article will focus on the potential benefits of JAK inhibitors as oral, small molecules, such as the potential role of selectivity, and potential risks.

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