Australian study takes top award

POCER TeamA 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 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 markedly decreases 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 practice 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 POCER study is the largest of its kind undertaken in Australia. Some174 participants and 17 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 initial work in this area. We are delighted to have been able to continue our support, together with Gandel Philanthropy. The research will make a real difference to the 80 per cent of people with Crohn’s disease who require surgery.”

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-breaking study”.