Pain research project kicks off

11 March 2019

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This year, Crohn’s & Colitis UK is launching an exciting research project into pain. We know that many people with Crohn’s and Colitis suffer from pain, even when they’re in remission.

Pain is a debilitating symptom; by identifying some of the key questions that remain unanswered in this area and driving more research into it, we will improve how pain is managed and the quality of life for people with Crohn’s and Colitis who experience it. That means that this year, we’re putting out a targeted call to fund research projects specifically focused on pain and in 2019 will invest £220,000 towards this goal.

Our project isn’t just about funding. We are creating a research network called the ‘Pain Collaborative Research Network’. This will promote and facilitate the discussion and exchange of ideas on pain in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which has been identified as an area of unmet need by researchers, clinicians and most importantly patients.

The Pain Collaborative Research Network will further our understanding of why patients with Crohn’s and Colitis experience pain and what can be done to alleviate this devastating symptom.

The Pain Collaborative Network will consist of top clinicians and researchers within the field of pain research. The idea is to create opportunities for research collaboration across scientific disciplines and to stimulate research within this field.

This month, the Pain Collaborative Steering Group met for the first time. The Steering Group comprises of leading researchers and healthcare professionals (spanning several disciplines including psychology, nursing and gastroenterology) and patients who are experts by experience. The group is enriched with specialists in pain who haven’t worked in IBD before and can offer valuable insight.

I am delighted to be sitting on the Steering Group and hope that I can combine my experiences as both a patient and a research scientist with a background in molecular and cell biology to offer some insight into areas of focus for the Pain Collaborative Network

Dr Gill Holdsworth
Trustee, Crohn's & Colitis UK

The Pain Steering Group has two key objectives:

  • To help identify underdeveloped areas of research in the field of pain management and IBD.
  • To help shape the Pain Collaborative Network. With their knowledge and expertise, the Steering Group will recommend research projects for funding that they consider to be valuable in this field. Any pain projects we fund will be approved by our Research Strategy and Funding Committee following an external peer review process, certified as best practice by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

The inaugural meeting of the Steering Group was held on the 23rd floor of The Shard (don’t look down!), and we gratefully received the space on a complimentary basis through the work of our brilliant office volunteer, Jennie.

A meeting of amazing minds took place, with rich discussions about pain and IBD and exciting ideas bouncing around the room. The meeting ended with a clear direction on where to take our pain project and how to shape our targeted research call.

We know that pain rates highly as one of the worst symptoms for people with Crohn’s and Colitis, and we want to take steps to improve this. The first meeting of the Pain Collaborative Steering Group was a huge success. It was incredible to have so many leading experts in the same room, and their knowledge will be vital in making sure our pain project delivers the best outcomes for patients.

Nikul Bakshi
Research Programme Lead, Crohn's & Colitis UK

Watch this space for more information on the Pain Collaborative Network and to meet the members of the Steering Group.