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NIHR smashes target of recruiting 25,000 volunteers for inflammatory bowel disease research


The NIHR Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) BioResource has hit a new recruitment milestone of 25,000 research volunteers, two years ahead of schedule.

The NIHR IBD BioResource is a database of people with IBD who are willing to be called up to take part in research. The aim is to provide investigators researching the area with immediate access to people and speed up their research to create new treatments.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe two conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are lifelong illnesses with debilitating symptoms including cramping, abdominal pains, anemia, weight loss and diarrhoea. At least 300,000 people in the UK are affected by the two diseases.

To date, more than 25,000 people have signed up to the NIHR IBD BioResource, and over 90 hospitals are actively recruiting patients. Research is also well underway: more than 10 studies are using the NIHR IBD BioResource.

People who sign up to the NIHR IBD BioResource provide a small blood sample for genetic analysis and complete a short health and lifestyle questionnaire. They are then contacted about research projects for which they meet inclusion criteria and can decide on a study-by-study basis whether they would like to participate or not.

Dr Miles Parkes, a consultant gastroenterologist at Cambridge University Hospitals and lead for NIHR IBD BioResource, said: “Getting to the 25,000 initial recruitment mark is a fantastic tour de force.

“The NIHR IBD BioResource is a nationwide effort, recruiting people who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis specifically so that they can help researchers to better understand the causes of IBD and develop better treatments.”

The NIHR IBD BioResource now hopes to reach a total of 50,000 participants over the next five years.

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