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Crohn's and Colitis Canada Funds Genomics Projects to Better Understand, Treat IBD

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The nonprofit Crohn's and Colitis Canada has awarded nearly C$800,000 (US$740,000) to fund three omics research projects that will investigate genes involved in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and a possible method for treating such diseases.

The awards are part of C$3.4 million in new grants the foundation awarded to fund nine research projects investigating the genetic and environmental causes of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to develop new ways to treat patients, the foundation said yesterday.

Mark Lathrop, scientific director at the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, received a C$371,000 award to use a sequencing platform to discover new types of high-risk genetic factors involved in IBD. Aleixo Muise, co-director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children, was awarded C$371,000 to investigate how certain genes control the leakiness of the bowel in IBD. And Stephen Girardin, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, won a C$50,000 grant to conduct targeted genome editing in human intestinal epithelial cells.

The foundation said that the incidence of Crohn's and colitis has been rising, particularly since 2001, and significantly among children under the age of 10. It also noted that Canada has the highest reported prevalence and incidence of these diseases in the world and cost Canadians an estimated $2.8 billion per year in medical costs, patient expenses, and work absence.