support our research

The number of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has doubled over the past 20 years, so there is an urgent need for more specialists and better treatments.

donate now to support our research

CICRA funded research has improved diagnosis and treatment but needless suffering and anxiety persists.

Your support can help us find better psychological interventions to counter the emotional and social impact of IBD, help us build on our past research to find better treatments with less side effects, and by supporting our groundbreaking Fellows programme and discoveries about what causes IBD, you will help train more specialists to treat children.

donate

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 £6million 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. 25 fellows, 27 PhD studentships and over 50 projects have had a positive impact for thousands of children, young people and their families.

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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.

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

what next?

Our challenge today is to ensure every child can see a specialist. We need to continue to fund innovative scientific research so we can learn more about IBD in children. We need to continue to translate the research into practical advice that directly supports children and their families. We urgently need to reduce the burden of IBD on childhood, and ensure that every child with Crohn's and colitis gets the expert care that they need.

Our research programme has been linked to some world famous hospitals, and had some of the best scientific minds researching better treatments with the hope of an eventual cure. But our proudest achievements are not the places or the people (impressive as they are, honoured as we are to have their insight and expertise). What matters most is what is achieved by the research our supporters fund, the difference it makes to children and families dealing with inflammatory bowel disease.

Our research gives hope to children and families. If you want a world where children with Crohn's and colitis can lead fulfilling lives, help keep our ground-breaking research going.

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Dr Protima Amon is a recent CICRA Fellow, a practising paediatric gastroenterologist, who researched how enteral nutrition works and what impact it has on the gut microbiota, in order to better understand possible causes of Crohn's and therapies to help.

ten ways CICRA research has made a difference

  1. developing paediatric gastroenterology (childhood digestion and bowel) as a specialist medical area: in 1978 there were no paediatricians specialising in Crohn’s and colitis in children so CICRA set up a fellowship scheme and this funding helped push the specialism to be properly recognised
  2. the first paediatric gastroenterology laboratory in the UK was set up by CICRA in 1982 at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. This facility is now world recognised for its excellence and has since expanded and moved to the new state of the art laboratories at the Royal London Hospital
  3. many of today’s leading doctors treating children and young people for IBD had their specialist training through our research schemes
  4. more children with Crohn's and colitis can now see an IBD specialist because the doctors we funded previously are training a new generation of doctors
  5. continuing studies by three CICRA fellows (1983 – 1996) led to enteral nutrition often being the first line of treatment for children
  6. new treatments being taken forward for clinical trials, such as the drug Mongersen, which followed early work by a CICRA funded project in Southampton investigating the role of Smad7
  7. identifying an increase in the number of children and babies being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, through projects in Scotland and Southampton
  8. spreading CICRA-funded expertise nationally and globally. Our bursary awards help researchers attend events like the world’s largest gastroenterology conference – Digestive Diseases Week
  9. through CICRA funded PhD studentships, encouraging young talented scientists to follow a career path of researching inflammatory bowel disease
  10. 50 CICRA funded scientific projects have added a wealth of knowledge about IBD, including current projects on genetics, bacteria, diet, prevention, pharmaceutical options and psychological stress

donate now to support our research

CICRA funded research has improved diagnosis and treatment but needless suffering and anxiety persists.

Your support can help us find better psychological interventions to counter the emotional and social impact of IBD, help us build on our past research to find better treatments with less side effects, and by supporting our groundbreaking Fellows programme and the discoveries about what causes IBD, you will help train more specialists to treat children.

donate
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For the last three years Dr Marco Gasparetto has received training in research and clinical expertise from his supervisors, Dr Rob Heuschkel and Dr Matt Zilbauer, in the Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge. On completion of his CICRA Fellowship, Marco was offered a consultancy at the Royal London Hospital.