Paediatric inflammatory bowel disease is a debilitating lifelong incurable chronic condition that results from intestinal inflammation. Ireland has one of the highest incidence rates of childhood IBD in Western Europe, with over 100 new cases being diagnosed annually – a 2-3 fold increase since 2001. One in 5 patients are diagnosed in the first two decades of life, and of these, 1 in 4 are aged under 10 years (early-onset IBD; EO-IBD). Ireland is uniquely placed to study paediatric IBD, as all children attend a single national referral centre, at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.
Dóchas, the gaelic word for hope, is the name of Ireland’s first and only prospective study of paediatric IBD. It is led by Prof Séamus Hussey, who is passionate about IBD research and providing hope for patients with IBD through researching the causes, treatments and outcomes of children and teenagers with IBD.
DOCHAS is a novel translational research platform, supported continually by the NCRC, which is designed to enable:
– high quality national population-based clinical-epidemiological research
– high quality hypothesis-driven basic and translational discovery research through national and international scientific collaborations
– national and international investigator-led research studies
– clinical studies and trials that will positively impact patient care.
Substantial and sustained increase in the incidence of childhood IBD in Ireland
How does it work?
All new patients are invited to participate from the time of referral. Their clinical journey is recorded prospectively by the DOCHAS research team. Analysis of this data is vital for high-quality clinical and lab-based scientific research. Clinical data and pre-treatment biologic samples taken prospectively have already enabled NCRC-based scientists to make new discoveries into this enigmatic disease. A growing number of DOCHAS-supported scientific collaborations are addressing diverse aspects of this disease.
Who gets IBD? Why do they get it so young? Is it worse or easier than adults? Can you predict how do patients do over time?…
The DOCHAS team dedicates their work to finding answers to these questions in order to develop even better treatment approaches for children with IBD in Ireland and around the world.
DOCHAS has placed Ireland and the NCRC on the word map of international paediatric IBD research. The team now participates in several international multicentre studies, including outcomes research, gene discovery, nutritional management and of environmental and microbial factors that underscore this condition. These studies offer Irish children and teenagers the opportunity of participating in such world-class research activities – an Irish thumbprint with a world-wide footprint.