IBD Unmasked, a First-of-its-Kind Global Awareness Initiative, Launches to Support and Empower the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Community

Takeda unveils new IBD Super Hero and graphic illustrations, developed in collaboration with Marvel Custom Solutions, to highlight the strength of and inspire confidence in those living with IBD

If someone with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was 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. Today, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited [TSE: 4502], 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. 

There are more than 5 million people worldwide who live with IBD, which include the two most common types – ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). For these people, everyday activities like getting together with friends and family or going to the cinema may be challenging. IBD Unmasked features the new IBD Super Hero, Samarium (S?m-?r-i:-?m), and graphic illustration series developed by Marvel Custom Solutions highlighting the physical and emotional challenges of IBD, while providing support and information for the patient community.  

In addition to the first chapter of the IBD Unmasked graphic novel series, also features interactive quizzes, facts and infographic, and an expert Q&A. In the coming weeks and months, more content will be unveiled – including more educational resources, new members of the IBD Unmasked team of Super Heroes, the next chapters in the graphic novel series, and the ability for users to create and share their own heroes. Follow along in the story and conversation on the Twitter handle, @IBDunmasked, and via #IBDunmasked.

IBD affects people of all ages and diagnosis is most common in early adulthood. People with IBD can oftentimes feel isolated when diagnosed, and simply discussing what they go through may be difficult. According to a large European study of people living with IBD, 48 percent of respondents reported that their lives are significantly or somewhat impacted by IBD symptoms even between flare-ups, IBD prevented 35 percent of people from pursuing an intimate relationship and 26 percent reported that IBD has gotten in the way of making and keeping friends. 

Battling IBD is a global fight that is not limited to a single country or continent. Patient who suffer from this condition face an ongoing battle to manage their disease and continue their daily life" said Dr. James Lindsay, consultant in Gastroenterology at Barts and the London NHS Trust. "Through this engaging platform, IBD Unmasked can encourage others who have been living in silence to be brave and speak up about their experience with IBD and share their fight with loved ones. Being diagnosed with IBD can be hard to accept, but discussing symptoms with a healthcare professional can help patients get the treatment and support they need." 

“As a company, we are focused on providing continued support to the IBD community. In partnership with Marvel Custom Solutions, we are tapping 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 IBD community,” explained Elissa Johnsen, Head, Global Product & Pipeline Communications, Takeda. “Takeda is proud to launch IBD Unmasked, and hopes to 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.”

The U.S., in partnership with the 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 additional content and campaign partners. 

To learn more about IBD and the IBD Unmasked initiative, visit  

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, diarrhoea, 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.2 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. 

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