U.Va. $5 million grant to study Crohn's disease
researchers, armed with a $5.1 million grant from the National
Institutes of Health, hope to pinpoint the genetic factors that
lead to Crohn's disease. The five-year grant, from the National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, which
is part of NIH, will fund a multidisciplinary program to begin
to develop a cure for the disease by isolating new treatment targets.
date, no one has been able to determine exactly what causes Crohn's
disease, and this has limited the ability of researchers to develop
successful treatments. We believe genetics play a role, and with
this grant we hope to pinpoint these genetic factors. The results
of this work may lead to new treatments and an eventual cure for
this devastating disease," said Dr. Fabio Cominelli, principal
investigator and director of U.Va.'s Digestive Health Research
grant covers three other projects, directed by Dr. Marcia J. McDuffie,
associate professor of microbiology and internal medicine; Dr.
Steven M. Cohn, associate professor of internal medicine; and
Dr. Klaus F. Ley, professor of biomedical engineering.
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes painful
inflammation in the intestines. It can be difficult to diagnose
because its symptoms are similar to other intestinal disorders
like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, Cominelli
said. A thorough physical exam and a series of tests are usually
required to make a proper diagnosis. According to the Crohn's
Disease Resource Center, the disease occurs in about one in 1,500
people, affecting men and women equally, and is typically diagnosed
in adolescence or early adulthood.