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Current and future directions

Current State

The SickKids IBD program is currently responsible for the care of 750 children and adolescents with IBD, between the ages of 2 and 17 years. Most have been diagnosed with new onset IBD through colonoscopy and magnetic resonance imaging at Sickkids prior to starting treatment. In recent years, roughly 120 patients per year are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or chronic ulcerative colitis.  Teenagers are transferred to adult IBD care prior to their 18th birthday. The IBD program also provides consultation on children and adolescents with IBD followed at other health institutions

The IBD program has a long history of integrating clinical care with research to understand disease causation and develop and assess new treatments. Since the mid-1990s the SickKids IBD program has been a major contributor to research identifying IBD susceptibility genes.

Led by Dr. Aleixo Muise, SickKids is one of the current leaders of the interNational Early Onset Paediatric IBD Cohort Study (NEOPICS), a global consortium developed to understand IBD developing in infants and very young children. Muise has an IBD clinic at SickKids devoted to infants and children diagnosed under the age of 6 with IBD.

Dr. Anne Griffiths is the principal investigator of the C.H.I.L.D- CIHR IBD Paediatric Network. This network is undertaking an inception cohort study, aimed both at understanding the factors responsible for the increasing incidence of IBD in children and at optimizing clinical care nationally.

Treatment goals for children and adolescents not only include symptom control and maintenance of normal growth patterns, but healing of the inflamed intestine and prevention of disease and treatment-related complications. An increasing percentage of patients receive biologic therapies.

Through the efforts of the IBD program team, children, teenagers and their families have access to peer support groups and to educational events, based on our conviction that better understanding of IBD leads to better outcomes.

Future Directions

Our ultimate goal for the IBD Centre is to make personalized IBD care a reality.