£700,000 awarded for research into new treatments and improved care for IBD

22 June 2017

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Crohn’s and Colitis UK has granted £695,304 in funding for their 2017 Research Awards. Nine innovative projects have been selected for funding to enhance understanding, develop better treatments and improve care.

For over 30 years, the charity has been at the forefront of groundbreaking research in Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and will be approaching £6 million raised for research alone since 2008. This investment is set to continue in 2018 as the grant application process opens for next year.

The following research projects have had funding committed by Crohn’s and Colitis UK for 2017:

University of Oxford will receive £25,000 to investigate the problems with the immune system’s reaction to cells in the intestinal lining which commonly leads to inflammation in IBD patients.
“By improving the detection and understanding of immune cells called “tissue-resident CD8+ T cells” we hope to be able to target them with new treatments that will reduce inflammation in patients with IBD.” - Dr Daniele Corridoni.  

University of Edinburgh will receive £74,597 to look at prognostic bio-markers for IBD: Using DNA methylation to predict disease outcomes. DNA methylation is a process where a person’s DNA is altered as a result of environmental influences not genetic influences.  It has proven links to inflammatory responses.
“If we can produce a valid test that predicts a patient’s severity of IBD we can improve their treatments and outcomes.” - Dr Elaine Nimmo.

Kings College London will receive £64,945 to look at reducing flares in Ulcerative Colitis by blocking GALT related immune cells which are present in the gut wall and cause inflammation.
“We hope to reduce flares in ulcerative colitis by blocking the immune cells which are causing the inflammation and tissue damage.” - Professor Jo Spencer. 

University of Edge Hill Lancashire will receive £48,979 to look at how IBD influences the friendships that young people have. It will look at the impact of IBD on peer to peer relationships using media resources that work for youngsters such as photo sharing, Instagram and other media identified by the participants.
“The more we can discover about whether or not young people with IBD are lonely or have good friendship connections, the better we will be able to consider how to support the young people facing difficulties.” - Professor Bernie Carter. 

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust will receive £72,653 to explore the experience of family planning in women with IBD and their partners. The research will consider all stages of family planning from pre-pregnancy decision making, conception, delivery and the early years of parenthood.
“This study will benefit patients by providing a detailed account of women’s needs during key reproductive stages, and intervention development that aims to support patients and their partners.” - Professor Matthew Brookes. 

University of Exeter will receive £119,721 to investigate why many people with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) may suffer from depression, which can often contribute to making their UC worse, and lead to more frequent relapses.
“Understanding the factors that predict depression may enable doctors to identify people at risk of worse UC outcomes, and therefore target treatments more accurately based on the risks of depression.” - Professor Chris Dickens. 

University of East Anglia will receive £119,762 to look specifically at how different dietary fatty acids may influence either the control or development of IBD symptoms by studying the biodata of a European population of over 400,000 patients who took part in the EPIC-IBD study.
“We hope this research will provide new approaches to the control of IBD symptoms through dietary change.” - Professor Andrew Hart.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust will receive £111,580 to look at the development of a nutritional assessment and dietary management algorithm (pathway) for patients with IBD. The aim of the research is to improve access to dietetic support for IBD patients. 
“The use of a standardised IBD nutrition assessment and treatment algorithm will improve the identification of patients with suboptimal nutritional status and result in more patients accessing appropriate dietary treatment.” - Dr Miranda Lomer. 

The University of Leeds will receive £58,067 to create a device for the detection of Colorectal cancer in people with IBD.
“Our current study seeks to improve endoscopic surveillance of colorectal cancer in patients with IBD by developing a novel endospray technology.” - Dr Venkat Subramanian.

We have come a long way in our understanding of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but there is still so much we do not know about these unpredictable, life-long and potentially life-threatening conditions. These investments into research are critical if we want to improve lives now and ultimately find a cure. We are delighted that we have been able to fund so many innovative projects that we hope will prove groundbreaking in learning more about IBD for over 300,000 people in the UK who are currently living with the condition.

Helen Terry, Director of Research, Policy & Public Affairs
Crohn's and Colitis UK

Applications for 2018 Crohn’s and Colitis UK research grants are now open. Read more about how we award our funding for research projects.