About this tool:

This tool is a collection of advanced therapies being used in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. It is designed for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) nurses and health care providers to assist in choosing an appropriate therapy and educating patients when discussing treatment options for Crohn’s disease.

What is a biologic?

Biotherapies are a class of drugs used to manage Crohn’s or colitis, that includes biologic and biosimilar medications. A biologic is a drug that is made from living cells. Vaccines, insulin, and monoclonal antibodies are examples of biologics. They have large, complex molecular structures. Some of the biologic medications are engineered to target specific activity in the immune system to treat inflammation. Biosimilars are drugs that are similar, but different than the originator biologic.1

What is a small molecule?

JAK Inhibitor

Janus-activated kinase (JAK) inhibitors are small molecules used in the treatment of IBD. JAKs are enzymes/proteins that travel in pairs to specific cell-surface receptors of our immune cells. There, they assist a messenger chemical, called STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription), to deliver its message to the nucleus of the cell that would then drive inflammation. However, when taken, JAK inhibitors block some of the intracellular (“inside the cell”) STAT signalling. By doing so, these medications help to reduce inflammation as well as the occurrence of symptoms associated with inflammation in IBD (e.g., pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, constipation).1