The IBD BioResource


A nationwide genetic database to help develop new treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.


Dr Miles Parkes

The IBD BioResource is a nationwide effort, recruiting people who have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis specifically so that they can help researchers to better understand the causes of IBD and develop better treatments.

Dr Miles Parkes, Cambridge University Hospital

What is this research looking at?

Recent years have seen major advances in understanding the causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), in particularly in genetics. Researchers now want to use this knowledge to look into new treatments for IBD, and understand why some people have more severe IBD, or why people respond to different drugs differently.   To do this, they need to be able to access IBD patients based on their known genetic makeup.

This is where the IBD BioResource comes in. This new database, which will form part of the NIHR BioResource, and hold DNA, serum, clinical and genetic data from 25,000 patients with Crohn’s or Colitis recruited UK-wide and stored in a central biorepository for future access. All volunteers will donate a blood sample and consent to be contacted to take part in future medical research, based on analysis of their samples and information they have supplied. The DNA samples will be used to help identify genetic determinants of IBD susceptibility, behaviour, and treatment response. The goal will be better treatments, and ultimately a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The bioresouce will also be accessible to investigators in the UK run approved “Stage 2” medical research studies. Researchers will be able to study groups of patients selected for having similar patterns of IBD and similar genetic make-up, and will more easily make sense of both the results of their immunological research and treatment response data.

Once the researchers understand the responses in the different groups they can look to create more specific treatments aimed to benefit certain patients.

The study is currently recruiting for people with IBD, for more information go to

What do the researchers think this could mean for people with IBD?

The researchers hope that this project will provide a database of IBD patients and their genetic make-up – thus allowing them to more detailed research into the genes and environmental factors that cause IBD, and the determinants of treatment response. The goal is to improve treatment and long term prevention of IBD and other diseases.

Who is leading the research: Dr Miles Parkes, consultant gastroenterologist at Cambridge University Hospital

Our funding: £120,000 (raised by the Prior Family), combined with more than £1 million from the MRC and the Wellcome Trust

Duration: long term