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University of Colorado School of Medicine

Research Grant for Chronic Inflammatory Disorders

School of Medicine

10/8/2014

AURORA, Colo. – A pediatric specialist in eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado will help lead a five-year, $6.25 million clinical research project recently funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Glenn T. Furuta, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Diseases Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, will serve as the administrative director and site investigator of the Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEGIR), funded by the NIH grant to research eosinophilic and allergic disorders and to train investigators in how to conduct clinical research.

“CEGIR presents an outstanding opportunity for experts from across the world to perform collaborative clinical research and to train a new generation of investigators,” Furuta said. “Research will be guided by patient advocacy groups and results from these studies will bring transformative changes to the care of patients with eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs).”

EGIDs are chronic inflammatory disorders. These conditions are thought to be triggered by allergic hypersensitivity to certain foods and an over-accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract of white blood cells called eosinophils, which are part of the body’s immune system. Eosinophilic disorders can cause a variety of gastrointestinal complaints including reflux-like symptoms, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, tissue scarring, fibrosis, the formation of strictures, diarrhea, abdominal pain, failure to grow in childhood, and other medical complications.

When inflammation is in the esophagus, the condition is known as eosinophilic esophagitis.  When it is in the stomach, the condition is called eosinophilic gastritis. When it is in the colon, it is known as eosinophilic colitis. While most prior work on these conditions has concentrated on eosinophilic esophagitis, the new grant will also focus on eosinophilic gastritis and colitis.

Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is the principal investigator on the grant. In addition to Colorado and Ohio, CEGIR includes clinical researchers from Rady Children’s Hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Northwestern University, Riley Children’s Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, Tufts University, University of North Carolina, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Bern University Switzerland. 

These sites were chosen based on their previous record of collaboration; expertise in relevant clinical specialties, including gastroenterology, allergy, immunology and pathology; the ability to integrate children and adult patients into the consortium; and their well-established record of excellence in clinical research. These sites are considered the major centers working on these diseases, and these sites have access to a comprehensive database of more than 8,000 patients.

The CEGIR will also work with patient advocacy groups, including the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders, the Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease, and the Eosinophilic Family Coalition, to address the clinical problems of most importance to patients and their families.

"Collaborative research is critical for progress in understanding and treating these rare diseases,” says Dr. Furuta. “Little could be accomplished without the support of patients and patient advocacy groups, our professional networks, and clinicians and researchers from around the globe. These conditions are a global health concern, and it will take everyone working together to address them. We are so fortunate to be able to formalize these collaborations through this new consortium and the stellar infrastructure and processes of the Rare Disease Research Network.”

The award is co-funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The CEGIR website, www.rarediseasesnetwork.org/CEGIR/index.htm, will provide more information for patients, families, clinicians, collaborators and those seeking career development and funding opportunities.

About Children’s Hospital Colorado

Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) has defined and delivered pediatric health care excellence for more than 100 years. Founded in 1908, Children’s Colorado is a leading pediatric network entirely devoted to the health and well-being of children. Continually acknowledged as one of the nation’s top ten Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and Parents magazine, Children’s Colorado is known for both its nationally and internationally recognized medical, research, education and advocacy programs, as well as comprehensive everyday care for kids throughout Colorado and surrounding states. Children’s Colorado also is recognized for excellence in nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Centers and has been designated a Magnet® hospital since 2005. The hospital’s family-centered, collaborative approach combines the nation’s top pediatric doctors, nurses and researchers to pioneer new approaches to pediatric medicine. With urgent, emergency and specialty care locations throughout Metro Denver and Southern Colorado, including its campus on the Anschutz Medical Campus, Children’s Colorado provides a full spectrum of pediatric specialties. For more information, visit www.childrenscolorado.org and connect with Children’s Colorado on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

About the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. To learn more about the medical school’s care, education, research and community engagement, visit its web site.