Enable AccessibilityEnable Accessibility

Takeda and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Partner to Introduce ‘IBD Unmasked’ A First-of-its-Kind Awareness Campaign

July 13, 2016

Aims to empower patients with inflammatory bowel disease through unique, Marvel Custom Solutions-illustrated stories featuring a Super Hero with IBD

People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are Super Heroes in their own right; today, 1.6 million of these Super Heroes are living among us in the United States, many of whom still mask this part of their identity. In February 2016, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. (“Takeda”) invited seven individuals from around the country to meet with Marvel Custom Solutions in New York City and share their stories of living with Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) – the two most common types of IBD. During a day-long workshop, the brave group opened up about having IBD and the emotional and physical impact on their lives, sharing their candid experiences with Marvel Custom writers. While their challenges varied, there was one remarkable trait that all these individuals shared: an unwavering determination to help inspire others living with IBD. From the voices of these patients and others in the IBD community, the Super Hero Samarium was born and is now featured in new graphic illustrations. Today marks the launch of IBD Unmasked, a global awareness initiative developed by Takeda, launching in the U.S. in partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (“CCFA”), and international experts Drs. David Rubin and Ellen Scherl.

Every year, approximately 70,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with IBD. For the people who have to manage this chronic disease, day-to-day commitments like going to work or carrying on with everyday activities may be challenging. In addition to what can be painful physical symptoms, people with CD or UC can oftentimes feel alone in their experiences; lack of public awareness and perceived stigma surrounding IBD may cause many patients to mask their disease by isolating themselves.

“Each IBD patient I see has his or her own inner strength, which never ceases to amaze me – my patients are real-life Super Heroes, and I am thrilled to participate in IBD Unmasked to help recognize the courage of this community,” said David Rubin, MD, Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine and Chief, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Chicago Medicine. “Although there are more effective treatment options than ever before, the physical symptoms patients experience may be challenging to endure, and may leave them feeling isolated. Having a strong support network of family and friends, and an open and trusting relationship with their healthcare providers are important and sometimes overlooked aspects of managing these diseases.”

The graphic illustration series is available at www.IBDunmasked.com, where every view will result in Takeda donating $1, up to $25,000, to CCFA. IBD Unmasked will also engage IBD communities directly through the campaign’s presence at select CCFA Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis events. Through IBD Unmasked, Takeda and CCFA aim to highlight the strength and resilience of the IBD community, encourage people with CD and UC to embrace their inner Super Heroes, and empower patients to have honest and open conversations with their healthcare providers, which will help improve management of their diseases.

“Sharing the accounts of real-life IBD Super Heroes will help bring further understanding of what it is like to live with IBD, and empower patients to be able to speak openly about their experiences,” said Laura Wingate, Vice President of Patient & Professional Services at CCFA. “The IBD Unmasked graphic illustration series and campaign website offer an engaging look at a serious topic. We are very excited to offer an innovative and new look into the lives of our patients and their caregivers and hope to dispel a lot of the assumptions people have about chronic diseases and IBD in particular.”

In addition to featuring the graphic illustrations, www.IBDunmasked.com is designed to engage those living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and the friends and family who support them, with interactive activities – such as quizzes– and educational materials that relate to managing IBD.

“We are proud to partner with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, IBD community members, and leading GI experts to launch IBD Unmasked in an effort to strengthen the voice of this community,” said Stephanie Brown, Vice President, Specialty Business Unit, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. “Our hope is that patients will feel inspired to have the raw and real conversations they need to have with healthcare professionals, family, and friends, to increase awareness, understanding, and to strive for the best care for their IBD.”

The U.S., in partnership with CCFA, is the first country to launch IBD Unmasked, a global awareness campaign. Additional countries in Europe, Asia and South America will also launch throughout the year with content and campaign partners to reflect local languages and cultures.

To learn more about IBD and the IBD Unmasked campaign, visit www.IBDunmasked.com.

About Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are marked by inflammation in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. UC impacts the large intestine only, which includes the colon and the rectum, while CD can impact any part of the digestive tract, and predominantly affects the ileum. There is no known cause for UC and CD, although many researchers believe that the interaction between genes, the body’s immune system, and environmental factors may play a role.

About Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
Headquartered in Deerfield, IL as a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502), Osaka, Japan, the Company has a commercial presence covering more than 70 countries, with particular strength in Asia, North America, Europe and fast-growing emerging markets including Latin America, Russia-CIS and China. Areas of R&D focus include central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic, gastroenterology, oncology, and vaccines.

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 through its corporate website, www.takeda.com, and additional information about Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. is available through its website, www.takeda.us.

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.

Since our founding over four decades ago, CCFA has remained at the forefront of research in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Today, we fund cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurture investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finance underdeveloped areas of research. In addition, our educational workshops and programs, along with our scientific journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, enable medical professionals to keep pace with this rapidly growing field. We are very proud that the National Institutes of Health has commended us for "uniting the research community and strengthening IBD research."


Roseanne Durril
Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
(224) 554-1474
[email protected]

Rebecca Kaplan
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
(646) 943-7415
[email protected]