Similar to many immune-mediated diseases, Crohn’s disease follows a relapsing-remitting pattern, with a variable disease course and heterogeneous clinical outcomes. Frequency of flare-ups, development of complications, and response to treatment collectively determine the effect on a patient’s quality of life, which can vary from minimal disruption to profound disability or death. Despite recent advances in the understanding of complex disease pathogenesis, including for Crohn’s disease, management decisions are still typically made using a one-size-fits-all approach. Indeed, the inability to reliably predict clinical outcomes in a way that could guide future therapy represents a major unmet need. Recently, several important insights have been made into the biology underlying outcomes in Crohn’s disease. In this Review, we will summarise these insights and discuss how greater understanding of these disease mechanisms can be used to develop clinically useful biomarkers, identify novel approaches to optimise disease control, and help deliver the goal of personalised medicine.

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