HEALTH: New Clinical Research Fellow Joins BIOPIC Study

Dr Iona Campbell at her desk in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

By Lucy Ashton

A new Clinical Research Fellow has joined the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde BIOPIC study into Crohn’s disease.

Dr Iona Campbell, a gastroenterologist based at the QEUH, is now part of the team exploring how to improve remission rates in adults with active ileocolonic Crohn’s disease.

The chronic condition currently affects more than 115,000 people in the UK, causing inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, with common symptoms including cramping or pain in the middle or lower abdomen, diarrhoea  and unintentional weight loss, all of which can be a major cause for concern for people suffering from the condition.

Although incurable, it can be managed with treatments, including biologic medication which can slow or stop inflammation and dietary regimes.

BIOPIC recruits patients starting to use the medicine adalimumab, who are then split into two groups, one following a standard diet and the other a diet with 50 per cent made up of dietary supplement milkshakes for six weeks.

Weekly checks monitor patients’ calorific and nutritional intake and samples are analysed for inflammation markers.

Recruitment of patients is ongoing and rising, through the Clinical Research Facility based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, with the study set to expand recruitment to sites in Edinburgh, Dundee and Lanarkshire.

Iona said: “We are very proud of the fact the study has started here and is moving further afield.

“It’s a huge team effort – from clinical teams, colleagues in dietetics and researchers – to get patients enrolled.

“As I’m seeing them on a regular basis over the course of their participation, I can see how they are engaging with the study. In some ways, they feel that have a new sense of control over their condition, rather than it controlling them, which is a positive benefit for the patients”

Lead researcher Dr Jonathan MacDonald said: “We are all delighted that Iona has joined the study.

“Combining drug and dietary therapies as a strategy is a novel and exciting approach in Crohn’s disease research and we’re delighted to be playing such a key role in a study that we hope will help to improve the lives of patients.

“In NHSGGC, our focus is on providing the highest standard of patient-centred care at all times, and this study underlines this approach.”

The study, which began in October 2022, is being funded by a £1.8m grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and will run until 2024.

It is one of more than 400 new research programmes currently underway in NHSGGC in conjunction with the Clinical Research Facility.

You can follow the team’s progress via @biopicstudy on Twitter. 

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