Why Be a Part of Research?
Some research studies, like participating in a clinical trial, offer an immediate benefit in your health. Others try to understand IBD better. “Understanding” studies will not have an immediate benefit, but they are important to help people with IBD in the future.
The Pediatric IBD Foundation is sponsoring research at MGH to learn about the causes of IBD. This research studies the bacteria in the intestine and the response of the immune system to these bacteria/
Quality Improvement in IBD
Our MGHfC group belongs to a quality improvement initiative called ImproveCareNow (ICN). This network of Pediatric IBD centers attempts to improve how we care for IBD patients. ICN has developed recommendations for medication doses. One of its goals is to see if patients that are on “recommended doses” do better than those on different doses. It also helps your gastroenterologist identify which children may need more help with their symptoms.
Genetic Studies in IBD
Genes are the “blueprint” of our body. Changes in genes can explain hair color and height, but other gene changes may cause the body to act differently than it should. Some gene changes can increase your risk for IBD. In rare cases, a mutation may cause IBD. Genetic studies at MGH are studying how genes affect IBD. Some genetic studies ask for a DNA sample (either by blood or saliva) from a child with IBD. Other studies may ask parents, brothers/sisters, or other relatives to donate DNA.
Studying Bacteria in IBD
There are trillions of bacteria in our intestines, even if you do not have IBD. IBD is not caused by specific bacteria (like an infection), but there might be altered patterns of bacteria in people with IBD. These patterns might explain why IBD happens. Changing these patterns may help treat IBD.
Medications in IBD
Not everyone with IBD will react the same way to the same medicine. Clinical trials are done to understand whether a medicine will work for patients with IBD. Sometimes this is a medicine that has already been studied in adults. Others look at whether new medicines will work in children with IBD.