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The Research Lens:


Zoom in, Zoom out In more than 40 years working with the Crohn’s and colitis community in Canada, including his clinical practice and reports for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Dr. Fred Saibil has seen a real sea of change in both research and quality of life for patients.


When little was known about inflammatory bowel disease, doctors treated the whole patient with what resources they had. However, research today zooms in on micro causes, and treatments are becoming more focused and more personalized.


For example, early work on the small intestine got researchers interested in the lining of the small intestine, and then in the cells in the lining, and then molecules in those cells. As their understanding of the disease grew, researchers then doubled back to look at what happens when bacteria come into contact with the intestine, and then at the patient’s whole genetic structure.


This approach means treatment has evolved beyond regular drugs to sophisticated treatments that tweak the internal chemistry in a more natural way to make the patient better able to fight the disease.





The skinny IBD patient is in the minority now, partly due to more rapid diagnosis. It used to be people got sicker while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with them. With awareness today, largely due to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, medical students now learn about the disease, learn to diagnose it, and treat it earlier. That’s made a huge difference.


– Dr. Fred Saibil ”


19 | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 19 | ANN ALNNUALNUA REPO P AL REPORT 2012014 01


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