It kills as many young people as all childhood cancers combined, yet little is known about a bowel disease that mainly affects premature babies.
But the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle is developing a pioneering research into the condition - known as necrotising enterocoltis - or NEC for short.
A year ago, our reporter Julia Barthram was at the RVI to see how other groundbreaking treatment was helping premature babies.
A year on, she's back to see how this new research is advancing, and how the babies are getting on.
See Julia's full report below: