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25 years of anti-TNF treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: lessons from the past and a look to the future
  1. Geert R D'Haens1,
  2. Sander van Deventer2
  1. 1 Gastroenterology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Gastroenterology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Geert R D'Haens, gastroenterology, Amsterdam UNiversity Medical Centers, location AMC, Amsterdam 1100 DZ, The Netherlands; g.dhaens{at}


Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antibodies have been widely used for approximately 25 years now. The first clinical observations in patients with refractory Crohn’s disease rapidly responding to infliximab prompted accelerated clinical development and approval for this indication. However, many questions remained unanswered when this treatment came to market related to maintenance schedules, pharmacokinetics, toxicity and positioning. Many of these open questions were addressed by investigators and sponsors during more than two decades of clinical use. The authors were among the first to use infliximab in Crohn’s disease and felt that now is a good time to look back and draw lessons from the remarkable anti-TNF story. Even today, new insights continue to appear. But more importantly, what was learnt in the past 25 years has created a platform for future development of even stronger and safer therapies. We should not forget to learn from the past.

  • crohn's disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • TNF-alpha

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  • Contributors Authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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