Exploring New GI Treatments Through Research and Innovation

Our University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s team actively participates in ongoing clinical research in order to discover innovative treatments and alternative therapies, and raise the bar on care quality, for children with gastrointestinal disorders.

Our team of specialists author manuscripts and chapters, and also presents numerous abstracts at national meetings. Currently, we have over a dozen institutional review board-approved studies underway.

International Collaboration on IBD Clinical Research

As an active member of the ImproveCareNow Network, an international quality improvement collaboration, we work with other specialists across 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, England, Qatar and Belgium. Together, we are working to improve diagnostics and treatment inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children.

Through research projects, GI teams have developed clinical assessment and care guidelines, raising the standard of care for how children are diagnosed and treated for IBD.

As a result of these efforts, 81 percent of nearly 30,000 patients from participating organizations globally are in remission, and 54 percent have sustained remission for over one year.

Research of Complementary Medicines for Treatment of IBD and Cancers

Complementary medicines, such as traditional Chinese medications, have been found to be effective treatments for easing and healing the symptoms of IBD and cancers. Our specialists continue to do research in this area, including participation in the following study:

  • Qing Hua Chang Yin exerts therapeutic effects against ulcerative colitis through the inhibition of the TLR4/NF κB pathway. Ke X, Zhou F, Gao Y, Xie B, Hu G, Fang W, Peng J, Chen Y, Sferra TJ. International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2013 Oct;32(4):926-30.

Using Early Enteral Nutrition Therapy to Treat Acute Pancreatitis in Children

The diagnosis of acute pediatric pancreatitis (APP) has risen in the last two decades. Pediatric GI specialists, including members from UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s, are looking not only at why this might be happening but also at effective ways of treating it, which is featured in the following study:

  • Epidemiology of acute pancreatitis in hospitalized children in the United States from 2000-2009. Pant C, Deshpande A, Olyaee M, Anderson MP, Bitar A, Steele MI, Bass PF 3rd, Sferra TJ. PLoS One. 2014 May 7;9(5):e95552.

Identification of Novel Genes in Intestinal Inflammation and Cancer

Currently, over 100 genes have been discovered for IBD. Research has shown that specific treatments and therapies are more effective if used when different genes are present. We use this knowledge to target the disease with treatments and therapies tailored to each patient’s individual needs.