The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced grants totaling nearly $4.7 million in support of studies focused on the efficacy of dietary interventions in preventing and treating Crohn's disease.
The awards include a grant of $1.9 million over three years in support of a study at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium that will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the FIT diet (Food influence on the Intestinal microbiota) as an add-on therapy during the induction and maintenance phases of biologic drug therapies for Crohn's, and a grant of $1.4 million over three years in support of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease Mediterranean Diet (IBDMED) study at Clalit Health Services aimed at evaluating the results of the IBDMED program on patients with newly diagnosed Crohn's disease in India and Israel; the IBDMED program also educates patients about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. In addition, Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem will receive a grant of $1.3 million over two years in support of its PIONIR study (Preventing IBD ONset in Individuals at Risk), expanding on a randomized control trial the foundation is funding to test the effectiveness of a "Tasty & Healthy" dietary approach in the induction and remission of Crohn's.
"Previous studies strongly suggest that dietary interventions may be beneficial in Crohn’s disease, but clear evidence-based recommendations are lacking," said Helmsley Charitable Trust Crohn's disease program director Paul Scholl. "By directly evaluating the effects of specific dietary regimens in preventing and treating Crohn’s disease, these new studies will provide much needed data that can guide future research and inform dietary guidelines for people living with this disease."