Partner profile: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada

Since 2009, MSFHR and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada have partnered to fund research with the potential to improve treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

More than 200,000 Canadians suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of disorders that cause severe inflammation and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two major forms of IBD, significantly impact quality of life and increase the risk of colorectal cancer, highlighting the need for research into better treatment options.

Since 2009, MSFHR and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) have partnered to jointly fund research with the potential to improve the health of individuals living with IBD. The latest researcher to be supported through this partnership is Dr. Vijay Morampudi, a 2013 MSFHR Research Trainee award recipient.

Morampudi, based at BC Children’s Hospital, is studying how two proteins released into the intestine by “goblet cells” work cooperatively to protect the gut from developing colitis. By enhancing our understanding of this mechanism, Morampudi’s research has the potential to open the door to new approaches to IBD treatment.

Funding research is an important part of CCFC’s mandate. The foundation was established in 1974 by a group of parents concerned about the lack of funding for IBD research. CCFC has since grown to become a world leader in IBD research funding, investing more than $82 million as of 2012.

In addition to Morampudi’s award, MSFHR and CCFC have previously supported the research of Dr. Yanet Valdez (2011 Trainee), Dr. Marta Wlodarska (2009 Trainee), and Dr. Megan Himmel (2009 Trainee). CCFC also partners with Alberta Innovates, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, the Manitoba Health Research Council, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation to increase IBD research capacity nationally.

CCFC’s work focuses not only on raising money for IBD research, but also on raising awareness of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis among patients, families, and the general public. November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month, and CCFC will mark the occasion with programs and events across Canada, including webinars, the announcement of IBD Scholarship Awards, and education symposia.

These symposia are half-day conferences that help patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis build networks, gain a better understanding of treatment options, and learn how to effectively manage their disease. BC-based symposia will be held in Kamloops (October 26), Burnaby (November 23), and Victoria (November 24). A full list of events can be found at www.isupportibd.ca/2013symposium