UK (University of West London) UWL research into treatment of Crohn’s disease publishe

Professor Playford, a Professor of Molecular Medicine at UWL, was part of a research group which conducted a feasibility study into treatments for Crohn’s disease.

An incurable, chronic inflammatory bowel condition, Crohn’s disease can affect individuals of any age but is particularly troublesome in children and young adults where immunosuppression is avoided if possible.

People of this age group benefit from treatment with special liquid diets but their use can be limited, due to poor palatability of these products, and may also need the insertion of a nasogastric tube if treatment is required for prolonged periods. New treatments are therefore required.

The collaboration between UWL, Liverpool, Edge Hill and Cork Universities and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital among others, examined supplementing sufferers’ normal diet with bovine colostrum (the milk first produced by cows after calving), rather than requiring them to undertake the standard liquid diet treatment.

Twenty-three children and young adults with Crohn’s disease entered the study and were followed for up to 12 weeks of taking colostrum or a placebo. Changes in disease activity, acceptability and compliance with treatment were measured.

The promising results of the research have been published in the open-access peer reviewed scientific journal Nutrients (published by MDPI – Impact factor 6.7).

Professor Playford said:

Bovine colostrum is a rich source of growth factors and immune regulators. This study provides evidence that children and young adults find this treatment acceptable and can take it for sufficient time to hopefully reduce inflammation.

This initial pilot study was not planned to determine the efficacy of bovine colostrum, this will form the basis of a follow-up study. However, based on previous work from ours and other groups, bovine colostrum shows exciting possibilities to heal the gut and reduce inflammation without the requirement to exclude normal foods.

This was a true collaborative effort of colleagues from many centres, especially Prof Stephen Allen, Professor of Paediatrics, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who was a principal investigator on this study and received NIHR funding.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Playford on his part in this research to improve treatments for children and young people living with Crohn’s disease.

Read the full research paper.


Professor Playford is a clinician scientist who serves as a Professor of Molecular Medicine at UWL. He has published over 150 original scientific and clinical papers and has received multiple awards for research including the British Society of Gastroenterology Sir Francis Avery Jones Research Medal. Read Professor Playford’s full profile.