CICRA supports research presentations at conference on paediatric IBD


ESPGHAN conference May 9-12th 2018

by Dr James Ashton

The European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) conference is the largest annual gathering for paediatric IBD specialist doctors, nurses and dietitians, with the common purpose of learning about the latest research (both clinical and scientific), promoting collaboration between PIBD centres and presenting cutting-edge work from one’s own hospitals/universities. Everyone’s overall goal to improve the care of children and young people with Crohn’s and colitis.

As a doctor training to become a specialist in paediatric IBD at Southampton Children’s Hospital, and additionally a current PhD student looking at the interaction between genetics and the environment in PIBD at the University of Southampton it is always a privilege to attend these conferences. This year we were fortunate enough to have five pieces of work accepted from Southampton for presentation at ESPGHAN 2018. CiCRA have provided invaluable funding and support to our research group in Southampton over many years.

This year we heard about such international studies such as the H2020 PIBDnet safety registry, the interim results from the GROWTH CD study and the new treatments (including new biological therapies) that are currently in development. There was also a series of talks on the considerable achievements and advances during the 50 years of ESPGHAN’s work on PIBD and what we hoped for in the next 50 years.

The work in Southampton, led by Professor Mark Beattie, Professor Sarah Ennis and Professor Tony Williams, is supported by the Southampton Children’s Hospital, University of Southampton and the Southampton NIHR biomedical research centre. The presentations centred on topics such as the role of the immune system in PIBD, autoimmune disease is in the family history of patients with PIBD, perspectives of patients, parents and professionals on maintenance enteral nutrition and a new genetic score for assessing the impact of mutations to a gene in a single patient with PIBD. CiCRA provided funding for members of our team (myself, consultant Dr Tracy Coelho and research nurse Rachel Haggarty) to attend the conference in Geneva, present this work and learn about the latest worldwide advances in PIBD research and care.

Attending a conference such as ESPGHAN reconfirms the commitment of our clinical and research teams to understand what causes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and move towards personalised, precision therapy for children and young people with these conditions. The presence of international experts, researchers presenting novel work and >4500 delegates is a fantastic opportunity to learn, meet new like-minded people and promote the importance of improving treatments, management and care for children and young people with Crohn’s and colitis.

In Southampton we are hugely thankful to the generous donations to CiCRA that make a lot of PIBD research possible and allowed us to share our work, promoting the continued learning and development of our team. We look forward to continuing to work closely with CiCRA, children/young people and other researchers to advance paediatric IBD care.


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Research nurse Rachel Haggarty presents her award winning poster at ESPGHAN 2018
Former CICRA fellow Dr Tracy Coelho presents research at ESPGHAN 2018