Pain and IBD Research

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada provides funding to support research programs that advance our understanding of pain in IBD. Scroll down to see an overview of studies we support. 

Psychosocial risk factors of pain and quality of life in IBD 

Dr. Dean Tripp, Queen’s University

Dr. Tripp's research aims to find out what factors could explain the relationships between symptoms of pain, disease activity, and quality of life. His research will help us better understand the psychological and social risk factors of pain and poorer quality of life in people with IBD. The findings from his research will help to improve therapeutic programs to better target pain and mental health. Click here to learn more about his research from our Gutsy Learning Series

Watch our interview with Dr. Tripp below to find out more about how he is involved with Crohn's and Colitis Canada!

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Targeting spinal microglia in IBD pain

Dr. Christophe Altier, University of Calgary

Persistent abdominal pain is a common challenge for people living with IBD. While treatments are available, researchers still do not fully understand the underlying factors that contribute to the onset of persistent pain.

Through prior research, Dr. Altier discovered spinals cells, known as microglia, communicate with cells in the gastrointestinal tract. Building on this discovery, Dr. Altier is researching the make-up of this cellular communication in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the onset of persistent abdominal pain and identify opportunities for new forms of treatment.

Click here to find out more about Dr. Altier’s research.

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The role of the microbiome in chronic and visceral somatic pain in IBD

Dr. Yasmin Nasser, University of Calgary

Previous research has shown evidence of increased expression of the transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 receptor (TRPV1) in IBD patients with complete intestinal healing; TRPV1 is a key nerve receptor involved in abdominal pain sensation. There is early evidence that disruptions in gut microbes can also change TRPV1 on pain-sensing nerves.

The goal of Dr. Nasser’s research is to study the role of gut microbes in the development of chronic pain in IBD and the interaction between gut microbes and TRPV1 on pain-sensing nerves by treating an animal model of IBD with chronic pain with antibiotics. Her research will give us greater understanding into the role of gut microbes in pain sensation. This may in turn lead to new strategies, such as the use of targeted antibiotics against specific gut bacteria, and/or the use of pro- or prebiotics to treat pain in IBD. 

Click here to find out more about Dr. Nasser’s research.

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Dr. Alan Lomax, Queen’s University

The goal of Dr. Lomax’s research is to study how IBD affects the nervous system by studying how bacteria in the gut and chemicals released during inflammation can impact gut neurons and ultimately devise new ways to block the neuronal changes that contribute to pain and diarrhea. 

Click here to find out more about Dr. Lomax’s research. 

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Turning off the “switch”: Preserving analgesic action of the endogenous opioid pathway in IBD

Dr. Stephen Vanner, Queen’s University

Pain is a debilitating symptom for many with IBD. Dr. Vanner is studying how the abdominal pain seen in IBD is caused, and whether there are more effective ways to treat it. Ultimately, this work may lead to better management of pain medications.

Click here to find out more about Dr. Vanner’s research. 

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Lived experiences of discomfort for patients with IBD

Irina Nistor (NP, PhD Student), Queen’s University

Irina is a practicing nurse practitioner in gastroenterology and hepatology with a background in IBD surgery and acute pain management. She is pursuing her PhD at Queen’s University with a focus on the concept of discomfort in patients living with IBD.

Irina is the 2019 CANIBD Nursing-Led Research Grant recipient, which will allow her to pursue a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Incidence, Prevalence and Determinants of Discomfort in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Irina’s thesis work will be the first to explore the meaning of discomfort in patients living with IBD using a phenomenological approach (the patients’ perspective). Her work aims to identify possible implications of discomfort in IBD care.

Click here to read more about Irina's research. 

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