International GEM Project Studying Crohn’s Disease Reaches Goal of 5,000 Participants

International GEM Project Studying Crohn’s Disease Reaches Goal of 5,000 Participants
The Genetic, Environmental, Microbial (GEM) Project — the world's largest clinical study investigating the causes of Crohn's disease — has reached its goal of recruiting 5,000 participants, Crohn's and Colitis Canada recently announced. Launched in 2008 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, the GEM Project is a prospective study that monitors the development of Crohn’s disease in healthy individuals who have a sibling or parent with the disease. Researchers are specifically looking at participants' diet, immune function, intestinal barriers, microbiome (i.e., gut bacteria), genetics, and the environment in an effort to determine factors that may trigger disease development. To support the GEM research program, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded CA$3.8 million (US$103.6 million) to Crohn's and Colitis Canada. This grant is on top of another CA$2.6 million (US$1.95 million) from Crohn's and Colitis Canada itself. So far, the project has been awarded more than CA$15 million (US$11.26 million) from both organizations. "We are grateful that one of the top philanthropic organizations in the world continues to place their trust and their funding to help advance the GEM Project. I have no doubt that the Helmsley Charitable Trust's continued generosity will help others to see the enormous potential of the GEM Project," Mina Mawani, president and CEO of Crohn's and Colitis Canada, said in a press release. With the help of this new funding, researchers will be validating currently known and new biomarkers that can predict the onset of Crohn's disease before symptoms appear. These markers will be used to develop a clinically useful prediction tool that can determine patients who are at risk of developing the disease. Moreov
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