Despite huge advances in understanding the molecular basis of IBD, clinical management has continued to rely on a “trial and error” approach. In addition, a therapeutic ceiling has emerged whereby even the most effective interventions are only beneficial for approximately 30% of patients. Consequently, several tools have been developed to aid stratification and guide treatment-decisions. We review the potential application for many of these precision medicine approaches, which are now almost within reach. We highlight the importance of early action (and avoiding inaction) to ensure the best outcomes for patients and how combining early action with precision tools will likely ensure the right treatment is delivered at the right time and place for each individual person living with IBD. The lack of clinical impact to date from precision medicine, despite much hype and investment, should be tempered with the knowledge that clinical translation can take a long time, and many promising breakthroughs might be ready for clinical implementation in the near future. We discuss some of the remaining challenges and barriers to overcome for clinical adoption. We also highlight that early recognition, early diagnosis, early stratification, and early intervention go hand in hand with precision medicine tools. It is the combination of these approaches that offer the greatest opportunity to finally deliver on the promise of precision medicine in IBD.
© 2021 Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.