Research study at UCL on IBD in the Jewish Population
by Dr Adam P. Levine, Honorary Research Associate and Academic Foundation Doctor and Dr Elena Schiff, Research Coordinator
At UCL, a study led by Professor Anthony Segal, is working on characterising the nature of the genetic predisposition to IBD amongst the Ashkenazi Jewish population. This research is conducted to provide important insight into the mechanism of the disease and to hopefully contribute to our ability to predict the risk and severity of disease and to permit the development of new and personalised treatments.
By finding genetic risk factors that are more common in patients with IBD than in people without IBD, it will inform our understanding of the processes that may occur within the body when the disease occurs and this has implications for designing new treatments.
At UCL, we have been recruiting both families with multiple affected individuals and those without a family history. From each participant we ask for a saliva sample, sent in the post at our expense, from which we extract DNA (the genetic material). We speak with each participant and ask for some basic details regarding their family history and their disease.
We appreciate that individuals may be hesitant to participate owing to concerns about confidentiality. All information we obtain from participants is kept in the strictest of confidence under lock and key and no-one, including an individual’s family members, are informed of their participation without their explicit consent. Recruitment involves us speaking with each individual and explaining the study in more detail. If the individual is happy to participate, we send them documentation about the study, a consent form and questionnaire, a saliva collection kit and a postage-paid envelope to return the sample and papers.
To date, we have corresponded with over 2,200 individuals and families who are participating in the study. Recruitment is international, and the larger the number of participants, the greater the chance of finding causal genetic variants and the greater the confidence we can attribute to the results.
If you are interested in helping our research we would be delighted to hear from you. We are particularly keen to hear from individuals that have many individuals in their family with the disease as it is our view that such families may be particularly helpful in identifying new genetic risk factors, although we welcome the participation of all.
It is only through the help of those suffering from the disease that we can take things forward. If you are interested in participating, you can either call us on +44 (0) 203 108 2225 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.