Researchers at The University of Nottingham, England have picked up almost £1 million in funding for a number of studies into a painful and distressing bowel condition that will affect up to one in 10 of the population at some time or another.
The team in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University, led by Professor Robin Spiller, are looking at various aspects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in a bid to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that underpin the condition and to develop new treatments for patients.
They have received £434,563 in funding from the drug company GlaxoSmithKline for a study examining evidence for inflammation of the gut in IBS patients. It is believed that some IBS patients may have a genetic predisposition to this kind of inflammation, which is usually associated with other bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Often these patients have to undergo many tests that turn out to be unnecessary before being correctly diagnosed with IBS.
Another aspect of the study is examining why as many as one in 10 people who suffer from severe Campylobacter food poisoning may go on to develop IBS. The study will be comparing people who have had a Campylobacter infection and developed IBS with those who have made a complete recovery to get a clearer idea of why some patients are at a greater risk.
Further research into inflammation in the gut in IBS may lead to new methods of identifying patients who would respond well to drugs not traditionally used for the treatment of bowel conditions but which are successfully used in the treatment of asthma.
The researchers have also received £172,914 from NovartisPharma and £360,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to look at the role of serotonin in IBS. Serotonin is a ubiquitous signalling molecule used throughout the brain and gut to transmit impulses. The over-production of serotonin can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and part of the study is looking at whether serotonin levels can be altered by introducing different molecules into the system.
The researchers are seeking patients with IBS to take part in the study and anyone interested should contact Marguerite Richards on 0115 924 9924 ext 36804 or ext 44970 or by e-mail at [email protected]