$36M Grant Awarded to Study IBD and Related Conditions in Canada

$36M Grant Awarded to Study IBD and Related Conditions in Canada
A $36 million grant will be invested over the next five years to study gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The project will connect 70 researchers across Canada with patients and policy-makers. It's funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, Dalhousie University, IWK Health Centre, Ascenta Skin, and the Department of Pediatrics. IBD, an inflammatory condition of the colon and small intestine, affects one in 150 individuals in Canada with nearly 10,000 new cases diagnosed a year, and this number is increasing. For reasons not fully understood, the Maritimes region of Canada has the highest IBD rates not just in Canada but worldwide. Researchers suspect an environmental factor plays a role, as well as known genetic factors. IBD is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors that leads to immune responses and inflammation in the intestine. It is known that bacteria plays an important role in IBD, and understanding the bacterial function would lead to better management of the disease. "Humans are made up of more bacterial cells than we are human cells. There's promising evidence to show that by altering the balance of bacteria in our guts – our microbiome – we can decrease IBD-related inflammation," Dr. Tony Otley, a gastroenterologist at the IWK Health Centre and principal investigator for the pediatric component of the study, said in a press release. "This funding will increase our research capacity at Dalhousie. Collaborations are already happening, but this will super-charge what we're able to do." "Within 24 hours of changing
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