What issue does this study address?

Ethnic minority groups have historically been underrepresented in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research, with participants of Caucasian descent making up >90% of all medical clinical trial patients. Ethnic minorities make up 14% of the population in England and Wales; IBD is forecast to affect nearly one in every 100 people in the UK. There is a rising number of cases of IBD in ethnic minority groups in the UK, but very little information is available about the disease course, and the effectiveness of established treatments, in these patients.

How will this research be conducted?

The investigators in this study will examine the clinical details of >34,000 patients from a nationwide database, to identify patterns of disease in ethnically distinct populations and to look at how these populations respond to different IBD treatments. This has not been previously investigated.

They will also explore signals in the blood generated by the metabolism and gut microbiome that could be used to develop non-invasive tests to characterise someone’s IBD, and pave the way for personalised treatment.

The research team

The lead applicant for this study is Dr Sharmili Balarajah, a Clinical Research Fellow in Gastroenterology at St Mary’s Hospital in London. The primary investigator is Dr Horace Williams from Imperial College London.