A ground breaking Australian study, supported by Gandel Philanthropy through Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), took out top honours at the world’s premier inflammatory bowel disease organisation congress, held in Copenhagen in February 2014.

The POCER (Post-Operative Crohn’s Endoscopic Recurrence) Study, led by the University of Melbourne’s Professor Michael Kamm and Dr Peter de Cruz, was named best investigator initiated study in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO), beating 254 other studies from around the world.

It is set to revolutionise post-operative care of patients with Crohn’s disease throughout the world, with an approach that potentially eliminates disease recurrence.

Professor Kamm said: “It’s great to see the work recognised, and for Australians and New Zealanders to see their collaborative efforts rewarded on the world stage. The POCER Study is changing practise already, having established a management paradigm that improves the outcome for patients with Crohn’s disease who require surgery.”

Coordinated from St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne, the three-year clinical trial is the largest of its kind in Australia. Some150 participants and 21 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand took part in the study aimed at radically altering the disease and life course of patients with Crohn’s disease. The focus has been on preventing the recurrence of disease after surgical removal of part of the bowel.

Dr Peter De Cruz said: “The POCER Study has received national and international recognition, reinforcing that this study is likely to be pivotal in defining the optimal care of patients after surgery for Crohn’s disease by developing a tailored approach. Professor Kamm and myself hope that the strategy being tested in this study will lead to better disease control and changes in clinical practice.  We are also hopeful that important new insights into the cause of Crohn’s disease will emerge”.

Francesca Manglaviti, CEO of Crohn’s & Coltiis Australia agrees: “We’re proud to have been a long-term supporter of this game-changing research. In 2008/2009 we awarded Dr De Cruz the CCA Young Investigator Award for his research project, Post-operative Crohn’s disease: cause and prevention. We have continued our support, together with Gandel Philanthropy, through supporting the POCER Study. The research will make a real difference to the 80 per cent of people with Crohn’s disease who require surgery. Their condition will be better managed and they will be far less likely to have to undergo additional surgery in the future.”

Vedran Drakulic, CEO of Gandel Philanthropy, said: “As one of the key supporters of the POCER Study through Crohn’s & Colitis Australia, we are delighted that it has received international recognition from the world’s premier IBD organisation. With more than 200 submissions from around the world, POCER Study stood out for its practicality and applicability. We sincerely congratulate all those involved in developing and implementing this ground-braking study”.

For further information on this media release contact:

Margaret Bozik, PR & Communications Coordinator, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

T: 03 9815 1266

Additional Information on the POCER Study:

  • Gandel Philanthropy has provided $120,000 towards the study, over three years
  • The study aims to determine whether performing an early colonoscopy after a first surgery coupled with biologic therapy, can reduce recurrent disease and the need for further surgery.
  • Patients in the study are being followed for 18 months after their operation.
  • 80% of people with Crohn’s disease need an operation at some time in their life.
  • The POCER study also aims to investigate in the laboratory whether or not particular bowel bacteria or the immune system cause recurrent disease.
  • The laboratory studies will be undertaken in collaboration with the CSIRO, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and CSL.
  • A guide for doctors developed using findings from the research will outline a tailored approach to management of post-operative Crohn’s patients.

Information on inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

  • More than 75,000 Australians have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD)
  • Approximately 40,000 Australians currently live with Crohn’s disease.
  • Crohn’s Disease is up to eight times more prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish community than in the general population.
  • The number of Australians with IBD is expected to rise dramatically to a figure of 100,000 in the next decade.
  • Australia has one of the highest incidence and prevalence of IBD in the world
  • IBD costs the nation $3.1 billion every year, and is more prevalent than epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Typical symptoms include the frequent and urgent need to use the toilet, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fatigue and weight loss, often resulting in depression, anxiety and isolation in sufferers.

About Crohn’s & Colitis Australia™ (CCA)

  • CCA is the peak body representing people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in Australia
  • CCA’s mission is to support the Crohn’s and colitis community with a focus on confidential support programs, including education, advocacy, counselling, increasing awareness and generating and utilising funds for research and programs
  • For more information visit www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au or phone 1800 138 029
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