St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation funds Inflammatory Bowel Disease study

Looking for answers: Professor Georgina Hold and Dr Betty Wu.
Picture: Supplied

Looking for answers: Professor Georgina Hold and Dr Betty Wu. Picture: Supplied

St George and Sutherland Shire residents who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are invited to take part in a ground-breaking study at St George Hospital.

IBD is a chronic, incurable and debilitating bowel disease that affects the health and quality of life of about 2000 people in St George and Sutherland Shire alone.

Australia has one of the highest rates of IBD in the world, with more than 85,000 people, or 1 in 250 Australians, living with the disease.

This number is expected to rise over the next 10 years, but the cause of the condition is currently unknown and there is no cure.

Now, new research funded by St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation hopes to find answers about the condition.

The Building Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Research Capacity - The St George and Sutherland IBD Project will see the creation of a database to help improve treatments and patient care.

Co-investigators on the project, Dr Betty Wu and Professor Georgina Hold, have been recruiting patients for almost six months.

So far more than 150 local residents have signed up.

"Recruitment is on track and I thank the community for being involved. Without patient involvement we cannot find the answers to clinically important questions to improve treatments for people living with IBD," Professor Hold said.

Professor Hold will also lead The Australian IBD Microbiome (AIM) study, a multi-centre collaborative study of more than 1000 participants over the next five years. St George Hospital is the lead site for the study.

"We hope with strong community participation, this project will lead to many more studies in the future, helping to improve patient care and treatment for people living with IBD in Australia and globally," she said.

"The vision for IBD research at St George Hospital is big. We want to find the cure for IBD."

SSMRF chief executive Leanne Dib said the foundation was committed to funding research projects that were focused on "improving the health of the patients in our hospitals, our community and beyond".

SSMFR has asked the St George and Sutherland Shire communities to go Red for Research throughout June to support groundbreaking medical research carried out at St George and Sutherland hospitals.

The campaign is bringing awareness to the valuable role of local researchers and raising funds to help them continue their groundbreaking work.

Details: To participate in the study phone Professor Georgina Hold on 9113 1855 or email AIM_study@unsw.edu.au.