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SickKids

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the most common chronic gastrointestinal illness affecting Canadian children. Canada has some of the highest incidence and prevalence rates for IBD in the world – and childhood-onset IBD incidence rates are steadily rising. Children of all ethnicities are affected, including those whose families have immigrated to Canada from parts of the world where IBD has been uncommon.

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Centre combines the expertise of SickKids’ IBD program and the Research Institute to build on our understanding of the development of paediatric IBD, leading to better clinical care for paediatric patients.

Receiving a Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis can be a stressful time for your child and your family. Although IBD is a lifelong disease, we’re here to help and guide you and your child every step of the way. 

Well-rounded care for children with IBD

There are two major forms of IBD: Crohn’s disease and chronic ulcerative colitis. IBD treatments for kids need to be personalized because of the unique circumstances with every child. Exclusive to children, particularly those with Crohn’s disease, is the potential for growth impairment and associated pubertal delay as a consequence of chronic inflammation.

We provide complete care for your child, ensuring your loved one is receiving the necessary care and education for their condition.

We take the time to educate you and your family about the disease – we believe a better understanding of IBD leads to better outcomes. This is done on an individual basis, but also via small-group educational sessions for new families.

We’re renowned for our research endeavours. We're grateful for the time and effort patients and families contribute to our research, which we rely on to guide future practices, and provide better care for our IBD patients.

If you’d like to participate in research, you can help us improve IBD care for children at SickKids, and around the world. 

Our Centre is at the forefront of IBD treatment. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss current and emerging medical treatments with a physician and a nurse. We engage in research examining outcomes with biologic therapies, as well as nutritional interventions.

The future of IBD care

The IBD Centre is advancing world-class IBD care through a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients and families with IBD. We continue to develop infrastructure and funding sources competitive with other paediatric IBD centres in North America, positioning SickKids as international leaders in IBD clinical care, research, and education.

What we do

  • Define the causes of IBD through state-of-the-art genetic and functional approaches. 
  • Develop personalized care for IBD patients based on better understanding of the genetic, immunologic, and microbial factors of IBD. 
  • Improve existing and emerging IBD therapies through collaboration with other specialties. 
  • Improve IBD clinical care in Canada and around the world through education and training. 

Bringing precision medicine to IBD

Through patient-based and translational research and leadership in national (Canadian Children IBD Network/CIDsCANN) and international (NEOPICS) networks, we aim to be on the forefront of bringing precision medicine to IBD.  

Developments in gene sequencing technologies and powerful bioinformatic tools are enabling more comprehensive analyses of human gut microbiota compositions, so that its suspected role in triggering chronic inflammation in individuals based on their genetics can be examined.  

New treatment algorithms we’re shifting towards has a focus on healing the intestine rather than mere symptom control, aiming for much better long-term health. Ultimately, our goal is to make personalized IBD care a reality. 


IBD research

Dr. Muise established and co-leads the interNational Early Onset Pediatric IBD Cohort Study. He also co-founded and co-directs the international VEOIBD and paediatric COngenital Diarrhea and Enteropathy Consortia.

The NEOPICS network now spans 86 centres in 26 countries. Dr. Muise’s lab is supported by funds from CIHR (Foundation Grant), NIH (RC2) and Helmsley Charitable Trust (renewed in 2018). His lab identified the genetic and functional causes for a number of novel intestinal diseases (Gastroenterology, Gut, Nature Communications, and EMBO Molecular Medicine).  

State-of-the-art techniques are used to characterize the molecular defects, including mouse and zebrafish models, and human intestinal organoids/enteroids. Dr. Muise’s ongoing research focuses on novel genes and the use of high-throughput screening to repurpose FDA-approved drugs in rare and common forms of intestinal disease.

Dr. Griffiths is the principal investigator of the Canadian Children IBD Network: a joint partnership of the Ch.I.L.D. Foundation and CIHR, also known as CIDsCANN. The network brings together 12 academic paediatric IBD centres nationally.

As part of its inception cohort, the Network has enrolled 1500 children and adolescents newly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, who are being prospectively followed with the goal of examining long term outcomes among similar groups of patients. Pre-treatment stools and biopsies are being used to explore the composition of the microbiome and its relationship to outcomes. Emerging therapies in use across the Network are being studied, so that implementation is optimized.

Additionally, Drs Griffiths, Ricciuto and Muise are principal investigators on a CIHR-funded microbiome group grant led by CIDsCANN colleagues, Dr. Bruce Vallance and Dr. Eytan Wine, which will further explore the role of the microbiome in subgroups of patients with colitis.

Dr. Ricciuto is developing a research program focused on PSC/IBD, and is funded by Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to study predictors of response to anti-TNF therapies. 


Education and training

We’re proud to train the next generation of paediatric IBD clinicians and researchers from around the world.

IBD fellowship training

The IBD Centre receives funding from industry partners to support paediatric gastroenterologists acquiring additional clinical and research training in paediatric IBD. Preference is given to fellows in the GHN Divisional training program, but others are eligible to apply. For more information, check out our dedicated resource to fellowship and training opportunities with SickKids.

Red-headed scientist using a microscope.

Paediatric IBD Centre of Excellence Program

This annual event is a one-and-a-half-day, fully interactive case-based education program targeted at young faculty with an interest in paediatric IBD. The program covers current issues in the management of paediatric IBD from diagnosis, to the introduction of advanced and novel therapeutics. Next program dates are set for April 9-11, 2021. Email us for sign-up info!

MRI scan of a human stomach.

Paediatric IBD Imaging Course

Our biannual event in conjunction with COE program. Next course date is set for April 10, 2021. Email us for sign-up info in the future!

SickKids staff speaking to children and families at an IBD Family Night event.

IBD Family Night & Teen Night Series

The IBD Family Night and Teen Night Series are annual and monthly events, respectively, hosted by the IBD Centre. Contact us by email for 2021 dates!

Helpful IBD resources for kids

Staff

Clinicians in the IBD Centre provide compassionate, state-of-the-art family-centered care for each child and teenager with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

We’ve assembled a one-of-a-kind, multi-disciplinary team that includes physicians, nurse practitioners, a dedicated dietician, a health/clinical psychologist, and access to other subspecialty expertise including specialists in diagnostic imaging and surgery.

Associated programs, clinics and departments

Biologic Therapy Clinics

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) Clinics

Very Early Onset IBD Clinic

Milestones and achievements

Dr. Muise co-leads The interNational Early Onset Paediatric IBD Cohort Study (NEOPICS), that brings together international paediatric gastroenterologists and scientists from academic centres around the world to better understand genetic causes of very early onset IBD and develop treatments.

The consortium was recently awarded renewed funding (2020-2025) from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Brumell and Dr. Muise, co-PIs, were awarded a CIHR Human Immunology Initiative Grant (2019-2023) entitled Immune Dysregulation in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

The IBD Centre has been very fortunate to have two new clinician/scientists join us in 2019/2020, both appointed to the CHES program, Dr. Eric Benchimol as Senior Scientist, Dr. Amanda Ricciuto as Associate Scientist.

Dr. Benchimol founded and leads the Canadian Gastrointestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CANGIEC), a pan-Canadian network of clinicians, researchers and methodologists that work together to provide the evidence required to improve outcomes and health care services for Canadians with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using population-level data.

For her doctoral research related to PSC/IBD, Dr. Amanda Ricciuto was awarded the Sickkids Research Institute 2019 Andrew Sass-Kortsak award.

Dr. Griffiths was awarded the 2019 Shwachman award from the North American Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), its highest honour, which recognizes major, lifelong scientific or educational contributions to the field of paediatric gastroenterology.

Contact us

For general inquiries about the IBD Centre, email us at ibd.centre@sickkids.ca

For IBD Family Night and IBD Teen Night Series event dates and information, email krista.uusoue@sickkids.ca

Key Staff Contacts

Dr. John Brumell, Co-director 
Dr. Anne Griffiths, Co-director
Dr. Aleixo Muise, Co-director 
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