GEM Project

Initiated in 2008, the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada GEM project studies the genetic, environmental and microbial elements that may contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease. GEM is an international study supported by researchers from over 100 sites around the world who have helped to recruit 5,000 healthy immediate relatives of Crohn’s patients to participate in the study. Of the 5,000 participants, 63 have now developed Crohn’s disease. The project is based at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto.

Now that we have successfully recruited 5,000 participants to the study, some of which are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, certain biomarkers have begun to appear more frequently than others. In the next phase of the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada GEM project, researchers will closely define these biomarkers in order to develop a predictive tool to identify those who will develop Crohn’s in advance of the appearance of any symptoms. This will lead to early and more accurate treatment (possibly before symptoms even appear). This sort of personalized medicine means less pain and debilitation to patients, less distress to families, and in the long run, lower health care costs. 

To participate in the study, you must have met the following criteria:

you have Crohn’s disease

  • Must be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and allow access to disease information
  • Must have at least one “healthy” child or sibling

your parent or sibling has Crohn’s disease

  • Must be between the ages of 6-35 years and generally healthy
  • ​Must have a full sibling or parent with Crohn’s disease
  • Cannot be diagnosed with IBD, IBS, Celiac disease or diabetes

To learn more about the GEM project, and for details on participating in the research, click here.

Research Funding for the GEM project has been provided by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 150 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

Other Areas of Interest