INFLAMMATORY bowel disease (IBD) has evolved into a global problem with over 2.5m sufferers in Europe, including 20,000 in Ireland, according to Prof Deirdre McNamara, consultant gastroenterologist in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.
Ireland has one of the world’s highest rates of colitis, one of the two forms of this disease.
The other is Crohn’s disease, which leaves people at increased risk of colon cancer.
Researchers in Tallaght Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital are now looking for people with IBD to participate in a study which will look at what role genes play in the disease.
Prof Glen Doherty of St Vincent’s University Hospital said: “What makes this research different from other studies is that we are seeking to identify the gap between current treatments and disease outcomes.
“As we gain a better understanding of the role of genetics in IBD and in an individual’s response to different drug treatments, it will enable a more personalised approach to the treatment of the condition.”
Patients with IBD attending both hospitals who are interested are asked to speak to their consultant. Genomics Medicine Ireland said it hopes to extend the study to other hospitals in the near future.