Lab Canada

Gifts totaling $3.7 million to fund lab devoted to gastrointestinal research

Vancouver, BC – June 21, 2004 – The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation today announced a $2-million endowment from the CHILD foundation that will be dedicated to care and research for children with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In addition, Variety – the Children’s Charity has joined with the CHILD foundation to raise $1.7 million toward building and equipping a new state-of-the-art laboratory for pediatric gastroenterology.

“The gifts were of such significant size that we’ve been able to take action immediately to attract an outstanding researcher and give our scientists a place to do this vitally important work,” says Sue Carruthers, president and CEO of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

IBD is an umbrella term for conditions in which the small or large intestine are inflamed, and may lead to diarrhea, rectal bleeding, sharp abdominal pain or cramping and other symptoms. Two major types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and their causes are not yet known.

IBD is most likely to occur in people in their late teens and twenties; however, many young children are also known to suffer from Crohn’s disease and other severe forms of this disorder. As there is no known cure as yet, these children will be afflicted throughout their adult lives.

Dr Kevan Jacobson, a co-principal investigator and pediatric gastroenterologist at BC Children’s Hospital, says a typical patient deals with physical symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, poor appetite, weight loss and fatigue. Most people experience periods of remission and flare-ups of the disease, often requiring long-term medication, hospitalization or surgery.

Dr David Israel, the head of gastroenterology at BC Children’s Hospital, says that a new, enlarged laboratory and a scientific network to share information will significantly help researchers to understand these diseases and what causes them. “This effort is a substantial breakthrough for our division.”