February 14, 2018

CT Children's lands 7-figure gift for inflammatory bowel disease work

The Center for Digestive Diseases at Connecticut Children's Medical Center said it's received a seven-figure gift that will allow it to expand its research and clinical treatment efforts of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.

Connecticut Children's did not disclose the specific amount of the gift, which comes from the Mandell-Braunstein family.

The gift establishes The Mandell-Braunstein Family Endowed Chair for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the inaugural holder of which will be Dr. Jeffrey Hyams, division head of gastroenterology and director of the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the hospital.

Hyams, a clinician and researcher, has led multiple studies investigating the causes of IBD and its treatment.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the main types of IBD. The conditions can cause severe abdominal pain and chronic digestive distress, and cause children suffering from them to feel stigmatized, Connecticut Children's said.

Key to finding a cure and improving care is a better understanding of disease course and response to therapy by intensively studying each affected patient, according to Hyams.

With more than 800 current patients and 80 or 90 added each year, the hospital's IBD center generates an immense amount of data which the new funding will allow it to better analyze through a medical informatics program.

"The Mandell-Braunstein gift is a game-changer in this regard," Hyams said. "Big data is an essential first step toward research goals and will make a big difference in patient care. We will be able to generate dynamic, relevant and directive reports on every child as we follow through their childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood."

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