There is still so much that we need to discover before we can achieve our goal of discovering cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We need to understand the role genetics play, the interaction between genetic risk and environmental factors, the role of our gut microflora (bacteria, viruses, etc) and the human immune response and its role in the onset and progression of these diseases. We also need to build capacity in the scientific community by continuing to recruit young scientists – the best and brightest minds – that will focus their research careers on uncovering the next big breakthroughs in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
While funding discovery research that will help us move closer to the cures is a key priority, we have also developed a strategy that recognizes the importance of supporting research that strives to improve the quality of life for patients living with Crohn's or colitis. This will ensure patients are better able to manage their disease and its symptoms by getting the best care possible.
Funding research is one of the most important aspects of Crohn's and Colitis Canada's work. Our research strategy focuses on the following priorities:
Advancing discovery means investing in research that is working towards finding cures. Our approach to advancing discovery focuses on finding the causes and triggers of these diseases, and identifying novel treatments that will lead to better therapies, and ultimately, the discovery of cures.
Finding Causes and Triggers
We are committed to uncovering the triggers that predict or lead to the onset of these diseases. What causes Crohn's and colitis? What are the triggers that worsen symptoms? These questions drive researchers examining the environmental triggers and genetic markers that could be responsible for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Discovering Novel Treatments
Learning that you have Crohn's or colitis means choosing a course of treatment. To help expand treatment options, we fund researchers that are conducting projects focused on enhancing patient care by identifying new ways to block inflammation, improve therapy, and create a healthy gut.
We invest in research that focuses on providing patients with a better quality of life. Our commitment to improving lives is about translating research knowledge to real-world settings in order to improve the health outcomes of patients. By focusing on ways to advance symptom management, the delivery of health care, and knowledge amongst healthcare professionals, we are working hard to ensure patients can live their lives to the fullest.
Helping Manage Symptoms
From abdominal pain to weight loss, people living with Crohn's and colitis experience a wide range of symptoms. To help improve quality of life for the 270,000 Canadians living with IBD, we support researchers investigating these symptoms and looking for ways to reduce or eliminate them altogether.
Getting the Best Care
Ensuring patients have access to the very best patient care is important. To help enhance access to high-quality care for patients of all ages, we fund research focused on discovering and implementing innovative ways to provide the best treatments and multidisciplinary care models.
The GEM Project
Led by Dr. Ken Croitoru at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, the Genetic, Environmental, Microbial (GEM) Project is a global research study that is bringing us closer to understanding the causes of Crohn’s disease. The more we know about the possible causes, the closer we get to not only discovering a cure, but also to the ability to prevent the disease from taking hold in the first place.
The Promoting Access and Care through Centres of Excellence (PACE) network is a signature initiative by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. We have created a network of IBD Centres of Excellence across the country, each addressing gaps in quality of health care delivered by the IBD clinics across Canada.