CICRA - Better lives for children with Crohn’s and Colitis

Our vision is a childhood unlimited by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Our mission is to lead research into better treatments, to support children and families with relevant information and advice, to work with health professionals to improve care, and to give children a voice to increase public understanding of Crohn's and colitis.

Our mission

Our ten year goals to give us as good as a cure:

  • advances due to research mean children are given more personalised treatments, with limited side effects
  • all children and families get the information they need, when they need it, and in the format that works for them
  • all children with IBD and their families know where to turn for support and get help straight away
  • the needs of children with IBD are always understood and supported, in healthcare, education and society, i.e. give children a voice to increase public understanding of Crohn's and colitis.

Dr Richard Hansen, CICRA Medical Director, Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Glasgow Children's Hospital

Our research

In 1978, there were no specialists for children with Crohn's and colitis. IBD had been seen for many years in adults but at that time it was very rare for it to affect a child.

A group of concerned parents of young children with Crohn’s resolved to act on the need for research to understand what was going on. With their passion, CICRA pushed for more specialists and our research programme was born. Much of the success of our research started in the early days and the laboratory we supported, became a focal point for leading research into IBD.

In the four decades that followed, our supporters have funded over £8million of research. The key to success has not only been the projects themselves – which have included new treatments and more insight into potential causes – but the impact of getting brilliant scientific minds to specialise in paediatric gastroenterology. 27 fellows, 23 PhD studentships and 56 projects have had a positive impact for thousands of children, young people and their families.

To support research, we offer three types of funding streams:

  1. Research/Clinical Training Fellowships to help young doctors to become Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologists.
    Many being the leading specialists today have trained the next generation of specialists through this scheme.
  2. PhD studentships for young scientists to gain their PhD researching IBD 
  3. Small, innovative research projects, covering many aspects of genetics, immunity, and the microbiome. 

Professor David Wilson, CICRA Medical Advisory Panel Member, Professor of Gastroenterology at Edinburgh University

What makes our research special?

  • Our focus is children and paediatrics, a less commonly funded area for IBD research, where the condition is lifelong and impacts education, childhood happiness and future careers
  • We help train paediatric gastroenterologists, so more children can see a specialist
  • It brings new knowledge and specific understanding of how IBD affects children
  • The impact lasts as our researchers gain huge expertise and continue to work in paediatric gastroenterology helping children with IBD
  • Pharmaceutical companies and other research funders tend to focus on adults because of regulatory requirements, but this means a lack of attention on those whose disease can have a much bigger impact on the entirety of their lives, striking when they are still growing and in education

Professor Ian Sanderson was the CICRA Clinical Research Fellow at St Bartholomew's Hospital with Dr John Walker-Smith where he demonstrated that an elemental diet was as effective as high dose steroids in children with Crohn's disease. He also showed that those taking the enteral feeds grew faster. This work paved the way for liquid diets, now a first line of treatment.

More information

If you’d like to find out more about how Crohn’s & Colitis UK can support young people and families of people with Crohn’s or Colitis, there’s lots of information on our website.