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The University of Southampton
IBD Southampton research study

About us

Our team is running a long-term research study aiming to understand more about what causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and how to improve and develop treatments for it.

What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

IBD is a condition where the gut becomes inflamed and sore, causing pain and discomfort. It is not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a separate condition. There are many different factors thought to cause it, including genetics, bacteria in the gut, the immune system acting abnormally and diet. It comes in two main types; Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

If you would like more information on IBD, you can find out more about it on the Crohn's and Colitis UK and Children with Crohn's and Colitis (CICRA) charity websites.

What is the aim of the study?

Our team is working to find out more about the causes of IBD. The study began in 2010, and we now have over a thousand people taking part in it, including children with IBD, as well as their parent and some of their relatives.

We are researching how changes in their genes, gut bacteria and immune system may lead to their symptoms. In the long run we aim to improve the diagnosis, treatment and long-term care for patients diagnosed with IBD.

What have we learnt so far?

We now understand that IBD is not simple, and people with IBD have it for many different reasons. It is caused by a combination of things, and is very complex and specific to each patient. Find out more in our Research section.

We've identified new genes that may be involved in IBD and new changes in genes that cause it. Building on this knowledge, we are now starting to find out how the immune system malfunctions with these specific genetic changes, and how the bacteria change in the intestines of children with IBD as they get better.

Our results have been published in journals in the UK and USA. This study's work has added to the international knowledge of IBD. Please see our Publications section for more details.

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