“I told you I was ill”


Spike Milligan famously once said “If we don’t have a plan – then nothing can go wrong!”

His epitaph also famously reads “I told you I was ill”

I am a big fan of Mr Milligan – I think the world needs a big dollop of nonsense every now and again.

Here at Bowel Disease Research Foundation however, we take a no-nonsense approach when it comes to medical research.

Our Delphi exercise took the colorectal surgical community by storm back in 2013 and has provided the foundations for the research strategy for BDRF over the past 5 years. Delphi was a  democratic process geared at devising a list of the most important questions that needed answering in the treatment of bowel disease. It brought together patients, public,  health care professionals and charities.

Run in collaboration with the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland – the undisputed experts in the field of bowel disease – the exercise was an enormous success.

19 Projects in total were funded by BDRF during 2016 – 2018 and many of the projects that were conceived through the Delphi Exercise have gone on to major clinical trials including PREPARE ABC (James Henron), CIPHER (Neil Smart), ALLEGRO (Hugh Patterson) and STAR TREC (Simon Bach)

So where do we go from here?

Well, it was always anticipated that the Delphi exercise would be re-ignited.

If Delphi was the Star Wars of its day – then brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen because it is time for the Empire to Strike Back….. May we introduce to you 2020 Vision

2020 Vision is an ambitious global project involving surgeons, patients, businesses and charities that will define and prioritise the most important questions that need answering in bowel disease medical research.

We have learned a great deal from our original findings and are now in a fantastic position to refine, improve and develop a definitive list of the most important medical research questions in bowel disease today!

Why prioritise?

It makes common sense to have a priority based structure for how you decide to fund medical research – but you might be surprised to hear that many funders do not adhere to such a method.

Bowel disease is a hugely complex area of medicine. Treatments and preventative methods that are beneficial for one group of patients may not have the same effect on another. Research is essential therefore for medical practitioners to gather evidence to help better understand these complexities and help drive improvements in practice.

Expert peer review processes are of course crucial in reviewing applications for research projects.

A prioritisation framework enables BDRF to allocate our limited resources to projects that will not only have scientific merit but also have relevance and outcomes to the end user i.e. the patients.

Miss Nicola Fearnhead, consultant colorectal surgeon and BDRF Trustee, a key proponent of prioritisation comments;

“Every three years the colorectal professional societies from Europe and the UK, the Americas and Australasia meet for Tripartite. In November 2020, this will be in Auckland, New Zealand. We have a unique and powerful opportunity to agree on global research priorities in bowel disease with Tripartite 2020 Vision, and then collaborate towards finding answers as an international community.”

How can you get involved in  2020 Vision ?

There is a role to play for each of you out there who are reading this blog.

Medical Professionals– keep an eye out for future updates on how you can get involved in 2020 Vision  and if you work in the colorectal field be sure to keep abreast of developments through the ACPGBI website

Patients and Public –if you are a patient or perhaps a relative/carer of someone who suffers with bowel problems then we are looking for volunteers to get involved in 2020 Vision – please register your interest with us.

Businesses – we are currently speaking to businesses who would like to be backers of  2020 Vision. This is a unique commercial opportunity to demonstrate commitment to pioneering and innovative medical research in one of the most important areas of healthcare today. Please contact us to be sent a commercial brochure.

So we have a plan and we know that things can go wrong – but we also know that we have a unique approach to helping make our vision become a reality.

That vision is a world where bowel disease is eradicated.

Please do join us and help us reach it sooner – together we are indeed, stronger.

Peter Rowbottom, CEO, Bowel Disease Research Foundation

The Bowel Disease Research Foundation is a Love Your Gut partner. This is  Love Your Gut Week 2018 – download your Love Your Gut Information Pack here:  https://bit.ly/2xcT3lN