Quick, accessible and effective point-of-care testing in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Project Lead: Michael Mengel, University of Alberta’s Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology / AHS Laboratory Services, Edmonton Zone
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder in the gastrointestinal tract, with irregular phases of active inflammation, remission and relapse. IBD usually presents as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. One in 150 people in Canada will develop IBD—one of the highest rates in the world.
Currently, IBD patients in Alberta receive doses of infliximab (an antibody that blocks the inflammatory process) in a series of infusions, through a process repeated approximately every four to eight weeks. During this time, they get tested for infliximab blood level and fecal calprotectin (a protein that helps monitor the severity of the IBD) in separate locations, resulting in a time delay in both the availability and integration of test results. Streamlining the testing process in real time would open a door to better and faster care, with potentially fewer costs to the health system.

A one-stop-shop model of IBD care

Mengel’s team looks to improve point-of-care testing, providing patients with fecal calprotectin and infliximab measurements at the same time and location, which could be the infusion clinic or at the patient’s home.
Through a demonstration project, they will collect the necessary information on data integration, quality assurance and appropriate use of high-end precision point-of-care diagnostics. This will provide an important proof of concept on accurate, precise, accessible and sustainable point-of-care testing that benefits both the patient and the provincial health system.
Real-life monitoring opens a pathway for more accurate testing, quicker results and detection of subtle flares of disease activity between patients’ regular infusion visits.