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Super Heroes take on Canada’s ‘national disease’ – inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

November 28, 2016
Takeda Canada partners with Marvel Custom Solutions to launch IBD Unmasked, featuring an IBD Super Hero Team and graphic illustrations to highlight the strength of, and inspire confidence in, those living with IBD

OAKVILLE, Ontario – November 29, 2016 – If someone with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were a Super Hero, what would that hero look like? What would they stand for? Perhaps bravery, strength, determination – three characteristics demonstrated by the IBD community members who battle this disease every day.

Takeda Canada Inc. today launched IBD Unmasked, a first-of-its-kind global initiative designed to raise awareness of the unsung Super Heroes of the global IBD community, and celebrated through a unique collaboration with the creative geniuses at Marvel Custom Solutions.

The new Super Heroes are taking on what has been called Canada’s ‘national disease’, since Canada has among the highest rates of IBD in the world. Nearly 250,000 Canadians live with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), the two most common types of IBD. For these Canadians, many of whom are young, everyday activities like getting together with friends and family or going out to the movies may be challenging.[i]

IBD Unmasked features a new team of IBD Super Heroes, and a graphic illustration series developed by Marvel Custom Solutions and an international panel of people with IBD to highlight the physical and emotional challenges of living with IBD. The new graphic novel series appears online at www.IBDunmasked.com and features interactive quizzes, facts and infographic, and an expert Q&A. Visitors can also create and share their own Super Hero avatar, take part in quizzes and download resources to help them feel empowered when they talk to their doctor, family or friends about their condition. Follow along in the story and conversation on the Twitter handle, @IBDunmasked, and via #IBDunmasked.

Chantel Wicks, 29, Canadian living with IBD for the past nine years IBD Unmasked contributor:
“Two things have helped me manage my journey with Crohn’s and colitis – strength and positive thoughts. It’s great to see these same attributes reflected in these new IBD Super Heroes. They will help others get through the inevitable really, really tough times of pain, guilt and anger that everyone with Crohn’s and colitis faces. It’s gratifying to see our thoughts, struggles and efforts portrayed in such a positive way.”

Mina Mawani, President and CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada:
“When someone has Crohn’s or colitis, they often face an invisible barrier to living a normal life. Yet the many Canadians who have IBD find ways to manage their condition, and not only cope with the disease, but thrive in spite of it. That’s heroic in itself. IBD Unmasked is a creative way to bring visibility and understanding to these often invisible diseases, which is sure to spark more open conversations about Crohn’s and colitis between friends and families.”

Gail Attara, Co-founder, President and CEO, Gastrointestinal Society:
“IBD Unmasked is a great way to take the conversation about IBD to a new level and with new audiences. It will help those living with IBD build confidence and help other Canadians learn the challenges that these conditions cause. Through listening and understanding, we will build support and compassion for these brave individuals.”

Chatrick Paul, General Manager, Takeda Canada Inc.:
“Takeda is focused on providing continued support to the Canadian IBD community. IBD Unmasked taps into the power of visual storytelling to raise awareness and help people living with IBD feel more confident expressing themselves to their family, friends and others. We hope it will help spark productive conversations, shift perceptions and improve understanding of the impact of these diseases, in order to provide ongoing support for people with IBD.”

About ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) are marked by inflammation in the GI tract. UC impacts the large intestine only, which includes the colon and the rectum. The most common symptoms of UC include abdominal discomfort and blood or pus in diarrhea. CD can impact any part of the digestive tract and common symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever. There is no known cause for UC or CD, although many researchers believe that the interaction between genes, the body’s immune system, and environmental factors play a role. The aim of UC and CD treatments is to induce and maintain remission, or achieve extended periods of time when patients do not experience symptoms. Nearly 250,000 Canadians are living with UC and CD and more than 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, typically in patients in their 20s, though it can be diagnosed at any age, including in children.[ii]

Takeda’s Commitment to Gastroenterology
Takeda is a global leader in gastroenterology. With expertise spanning more than 25 years, the company’s dedication to innovation continues to evolve and have a lasting impact. Beginning in the 1990s, Takeda pioneered gastroenterological breakthroughs in proton pump inhibitors. Since that time, Takeda’s global capabilities have expanded into the specialty care market in gastroenterology and biologics with a focus on ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Takeda's expertise also remains focused on therapeutic agents that work to reduce the production of acid in the stomach, and options for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and opioid-induced constipation. Through specialized and strategic in-house development, external partnerships, in-licensing and acquisitions, Takeda currently has a number of promising early stage GI assets in development, and remains committed to delivering innovative, therapeutic options for patients with gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

About Takeda
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available at takeda.com.

Takeda Canada, located in Oakville, Ontario, is the Canadian sales and marketing organization of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Takeda Canada is transforming to become an agile specialty pharmaceutical company, focusing on gastroenterology and oncology, while continuing to meet a number of important primary care needs. Additional information about Takeda Canada is available at takedacanada.com.


[i] Lonnfors S. et al. IBD and health-related quality of life – discovering the true impact. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2014;4(8):1281-1286.

[ii] Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, The impact of inflammatory bowel disease in Canada, 2012 final report, page 7, accessed at: http://www.isupportibd.ca/pdf/ccfc-ibd-impact-report-2012.pdf