Karate champion, Caradh O’Donovan and Senator Ged Nash celebrating the announcement by Genomics Medicine Ireland of the nationwide expansion of their cutting-edge genomics study into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the first of its kind in Ireland. (Pic: Conor McCabe Photography)

The Clinical Research Facility at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and at Mercy University Hospital are to form part of a nationwide expansion of its cutting-edge genomics study into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the first of its kind in Ireland.

CUH and Mercy are two of six additional research sites to begin collaborating with Irish life sciences company, Genomics Medicine Ireland, in this pioneering research.

This has resulted in a total of nine centres in five regions nationwide that are now part of an initiative that aims to identify genetic markers that can help diagnose, predict disease severity and identify personalised treatments for people with IBD.

The welcome announcement coincided with World IBD Day, on Saturday, 19th May. Over 20,000 people in Ireland are living with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), an umbrella term for chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders primarily affecting adults in the prime of their life.

There are two major forms of IBD – Crohn’s disease (CD) and Ulcerative colitis (UC) – which are life-long conditions for which there is currently no known cause or cure.

The six new sites are University Hospital Limerick; University Hospital Galway; Cork and Mercy University Hospitals; Beaumont Hospital Dublin; and St. James’s Hospital Dublin.

They join Tallaght Hospital, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, and hospitals in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area, Northern Ireland, in conjunction with the Clinical Translational Research Centre (C-TRIC) at Altnagelvin Hospital site in Derry/Londonderry, who participated in the study’s initial launch late last year.