Discovering Novel Treatments
Once a patient receives the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, they face the decision of choosing a course of treatment. With science rapidly advancing every day, Canadian researchers remain driven to discover novel forms of treatment.
With the support of grants from Crohn's and Colitis Canada, the researchers noted below are working on research projects that focus on discovering innovative forms of treatment for patients living with Crohn's or colitis.
2023 Grant Recipients
Dr. Deanna Gibson | University of British Columbia – Okanagan
Research: Restoring gut symbiosis using a novel live biotherapeutic product that acts via the gut-brain axis
Using a genetically engineered bacteria previously developed in this lab, this research is examining this bacteria’s ability to target inflammation and metabolic function in mice, specifically to sustain the reduction of inflammation during disease episodes. The intent is that the findings will contribute to the development of specific bacteria that could be used as future treatments.
Dr. Simon Hirota | University of Calgary
Research: Assessing the interactions between metformin and NR4A1 on pathogenic intestinal remodelling - repurposing a drug for the treatment of fibrostenosis
Metformin is a well-established diabetes treatment with anti-inflammatory properties. Its potential as an IBD treatment has yet to be fully studied. This research will investigate metformin as a way to address the effects of Crohn’s disease by limiting or reversing the thickening or scarring of intestinal tissue. If metformin is effective, its use could be implemented quickly given its wide use and demonstrated safety.
Dr. Matthew Sorbara | University of Guelph
Research: Immunomodulatory activities of butyrate-producing members of Lachnospiraceae
An imbalance of gut bacteria is a contributor to IBD-related inflammation. Specifically, this team will look at one family of bacteria and the fatty acids it creates that are abundant in a healthy gut but lower in IBD patients. The aim is to determine how this family of bacteria is linked to immune responses including live studies on mice. The ultimate goal is to continue on the path of developing treatments based on biological products that contain live organisms, such as bacteria..
Dr. Timothy Shutt | University of Calgary
Research: Developing mitochondrial transfer as a novel therapy to promote mucosal healing in IBD
Mitochondria are the organelles within cells that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power a cell’s biochemical reactions. Their dysfunction contributes to IBD. This project will continue the team’s studies to investigate the hypothesis that transferring mitochondria within gut cells for those mitochondria contributing to inflammation will decrease IBD-related inflammation. The two aims of this study are to visualize mitochondrial transfer in the gut and to determine whether that transfer is beneficial.
Dr. Michael Zaugg | University of Alberta, Edmonton
Research: Protecting the gut and boosting healthy immunity during oral nutrition deprivation: Role of lipid mediators and interleukin-10 (Vegaven nutritional therapy in mouse model)
This lab has developed a liquid diet formula that offers nutrition with intestinal anti-inflammatory properties. This next step is to quantify the impact of the identified fatty acids on intestinal health in comparison to other existing liquid diet formulas in mouse experiments as part of the process of developing a version for eventual human use.