Those who received the Innovator Awards will be working on projects that could lead to breakthrough discoveries in IBD.
The projects include both basic science and treatment-development-related work. Some of the research areas the foundation has funded include bioengineering, epithelial cell and molecular biology, the microbiome, immunity, inflammation, diet, nutrition, and fecal microbiota transplants.
Each of the winners will receive a $100,000 grant. Those who demonstrate significant progress are eligible for an additional two years of support.
“This year’s grantees are pursuing research that has the potential to yield important insights into this chronic disease,” Laura Wilson, the foundation’s director of health strategy and ventures, said in a press release. “Our Innovator Awards provide critical initial support to high-risk research that will help us improve the prevention and prediction, as well as better management of the disease by doctors and patients.”
The foundation said it will continue supporting 17 Innovator Award winners from 2015 and 2016 who have made significant progress toward their projects’ goals. Several projects will be transitioning from preliminary findings to clinical trials that deal with managing bowel disease and patients’ well-being.
“Funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation has been absolutely critical for the progress of our project,” said Iliyan Iliev, an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. “We were supported from the very beginning, having exciting and promising” data in hand, “but the rest of the project was conceptual. This project would not have been possible without the foundation’s support.”
The foundation will hold its 7th annual Innovations Symposium in San Francisco, July 16-17, 2018. It will bring together researchers and doctors worldwide who want to establish new collaborations to advance the world’s understanding of IBD. The theme captures what will be happening at the event: “Basic Science and the Patient – Have You Two Met?”
Meanwhile, there was an intriguing slice of news about IBD earlier this month. A German digital health startup, Cara, raised $2 million in seed funding to create the first precision medicine solution for digestive health – a mobile phone app called Cara app.
The app is a food and symptom diary that allows people to track their bowel activity, nutrition, medication, and other factors. It will compile the information that the patient is adding to it, then analyze it to give users a better understanding of their body so they can regain control.
One of the future roles that researchers plan for the Cara app is matching digestive medicines to patients. It will do this by using artificial intelligence to combine microbiome insights with information on treatment response.