General Medicine

A study to assess the potential of experimental laboratory assays to detect circulating infection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis

One of the potential causes of Crohn’s disease is thought to be an infection by a specific type of bacterium called Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, also called MAP.

This study will aim to determine whether one or more experimental laboratory assays can detect the presence or absence of MAP circulating in the blood of Crohn’s patients. This study may help to determine if there is a causal relationship between Crohn’s disease and MAP.  This study is a collaboration with Queens University Belfast.

Principal Investigators on the “Togas Trial”, Prof Colm O Morain and Dr Victoria McEneaney

The recently launched “EU4HEALTH: Towards a Healthier and Safer Union” programme was adopted as a response to the COVID – 19 pandemic and to reinforce crisis preparedness in the EU. The pandemic highlighted the fragility of our national health systems and with a budget of €5.3 billion during the 2021 – 27 period alone, the EU4Health programme is unparalleled in EU research financial support. 

In March of this year, Beacon Hospitals leading gastroenterologist Prof Colm O’Morain and Beacon Hospital Research Institute were asked to participate in a major consortium involving 21 EU partners within 11 EU countries in a quest for funding from the programme. The project submitted was titled “Towards Gastric Cancer Screening Implementation in the European Union – The TOGAS Study”. 

This project was successfully funded with the substantial award of €11, 337,063.00 – with Beacon’s portion being over €700,000 euros. The study involves testing over 800 participants aged between 30 – 35 for the presence of Heliobacter pylori, which is a bacterium that can infect the stomach. Infection with H. pylori is the strongest known risk factor for gastric cancer. 

The TOGAS Study is a 36-month undertaking, commencing in 2023 and will involve the recruitment of 1 registrar, 1 project co-ordinator and administrative support for the Beacon Hospital section. 

Victoria stated “This is an unbelievable success for the Hospital and for BHRI and will put us firmly on the stage as a sought – after collaborator both nationally and internationally on exciting, novel, multi – disciplinary research studies, successfully competing against hundreds of other Institutions for millions of euros in grant funding.” Prof O Morain further stated “I’m delighted that cancer prevention is being recognised as the best cure for cancer by the commission. H. pylori is the cause of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. Detecting it early will prevent disastrous outcomes and this pilot study will determine public health policy for the future”.