CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati has been accepted as a member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s (CCFA) Clinical Research Alliance.
The Clinical Research Alliance is a network of major medical centers that collaborate on clinical studies to focus on the cause, management and treatment of patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
IBD is characterized by the patient’s immune system attacking parts of their gastrointestinal tract. It affects about 1.4 million Americans.
“In perspective, that is greater than the number of people with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes combined,” says Richard Rood, MD, medical director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at UC and digestive diseases specialist with UC Physicians.
Although IBD can be treated successfully, it can also lead to serious complications such as bleeding, hospitalizations, surgery, cancer and even death.
Rood, colleagues in the division and researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will be collaborating in this research effort.
“As members of the clinical alliance, we will be able to sponsor unique research that can be tested at the alliance’s institutions nationwide,” says Rood, who not only specializes in IBD but also lives with ulcerative colitis, one type of the disease.
“We are very excited and honored to be welcomed into the alliance,” he adds. “IBD is a very serious disease and could have tragic outcomes for those living with it. Research is the only hope we have to find more effective treatment methods or a cure for the illness.”
Rood says the alliance provides a way for key studies to be performed more efficiently with larger groups of patients.
“Larger groups of patients are more effective in showing differences between treatment groups,” he says. “As a result, we have the best chance of making significant improvements for the treatment and quality of life for patients with IBD.”
Rood adds that researchers in UC’s digestive diseases division hope to team up with physicians in UC’s obstetrics and gynecology department for a national, multicenter trial that would use a patient registry to investigate such things as birth weight and mental and physical development in children who have birth mothers with IBD.
“We want to see if low birth weight is more common in babies with mothers who have IBD due to nutritional deficits caused by the disease,” he says.
“This opportunity will open doors for patients with IBD,” he continues. “With focus being placed on better treatments for this debilitating disease, we can be optimistic about improving patients’ quality of life. With support from the CCFA and the alliance, we will be one step closer to making a cure for IBD a reality.”