Problem addressed, background and strategic significance

The optimal multimodal strategy for managing fistulating perianal CD was seen as a one of the highest priority list of non-cancer related questions in the recent BDRF/ACPGBI Delphi Research Agenda exercise. There is evidence that bacteria in the fistula tract may be different within CD compared to those without CD – suggesting a potential means to identify and treat this condition.

Method(s) used

Detailed analysis of the bacterial composition of material from samples from the tracts of CD fistula will be compared with those obtained from non-CD fistula patients undergoing surgery.

Hoped for results of this research

We aim to use microbiome analytical technology create a detailed bacterial map of the type of bacteria involved in Crohn’s disease related fistula and whether this is different when compared to those fistula which are caused by other causes. This may allow us to earlier identify Crohn’s fistula, better understand how they happen and identify new targets for potential future treatment.

What this research is expected to add to the knowledge of bowel disease and what is the impact you hope to achieve for patients?

The results may well suggest that the type of bacteria involved in causing and maintaining CD fistula are different from others. This research will allow the optimisation of the test for this purpose and detail microbiome populations in this group of patients prior to undertaking a much larger national study if significant patterns emerge.