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Primary Children's to participate in study of Crohn's disease

SALT LAKE CITY — Primary Children's Medical Center will be one of more than a two dozen sites nationwide to participate in the third phase of a national study on Crohn's disease.

Researchers hope to enroll 20-30 young patients within the next few months and will follow them for three years to see how the disease progresses in children and teens age 16 and younger. The information gathered in this phase will establish a foundation for clinical trials to identify effective treatments of Crohn's disease.

Approximately 140,000 children in the United States, including 750 Utah children, have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn's disease is one of the two main types of IBD.

"During the last 10 years we have learned a tremendous amount about Crohn's disease genetics and immunology," said Dr. Stephen Guthery, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Primary Children's. "How these factors impact treatment of patients is not yet clear, but this national study will allow us to better understand how new advances in addressing Crohn's disease will help patients." Crohn's disease tends to occur in families, and Guthery has been studying both children and Utah families for more than six years to help identify genes responsible for the disease.