Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research

Since its creation, the IBD Center has conducted many research projects to understand inflammatory bowel disease, advance current treatments, improve quality of life, develop new therapies and find a cure for IBD. Our research staff includes doctors, research scientists, nurses, study coordinators and statisticians. The IBD Center also collaborates with faculty and staff members in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and other Hospital departments to study the entire spectrum of the disease process. Due to the large IBD patient population, the Center is easily able to enroll patients and their families in clinical trials.

Research resources

The Center's location within a hospital environment provides important resources to conduct successful clinical research.

  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute is a facility specifically dedicated to the administration of all research conducted at CHOP.
  • The Hospital's Institutional Review Board ensures the protection of subjects and compliance with federal law.
  • The clinical laboratory facilities in the Hospital are state accredited by the College of American Pathologists and certified by the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Healthcare Financing Administration).

All of these resources have enabled The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to become an international leader, not only in its exploration of new medical therapies in the laboratory but also in the application of these discoveries to real life situations where their use has the potential to improve lives.

Types of research

Clinical research

The number of new drugs reaching the market has increased a hundredfold since the 1970s. Through clinical research, new medications can be closely followed and studied in the hopes of receiving FDA approval and eventually being made available to the general population. Obtaining FDA approval of a new drug is a lengthy process. As a result, patients often choose to participate in a clinical trial because of the possibility of receiving the medication and health benefits sooner than if they had to wait for FDA approval. The IBD Center, with the resources mentioned previously, has many clinical trials currently in progress and has taken a national leadership role in studying the safety and effectiveness of these new agents in the pediatric population.

Basic science research

Basic science research is performed in a laboratory setting and focuses on how diseases begin and develop. Simply stated, IBD researchers analyze the mechanism of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For example, scientists have been attempting to locate the gene or genes that may contribute to the development of Crohn's disease. Patients can help advance scientific research by taking part in clinical research studies. Clinical research and basic science research are equally important in the search for a cure for IBD. Very often the lines are blurred between the two types of research. Where the laboratory study of a medication may end, a clinical study may begin. Together, the knowledge and understanding gained about inflammatory bowel disease continues to grow, bringing with it a hope for a better tomorrow.

Reviewed on January 01, 2014