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Pancreatic cancer death rates rising across Europe, report reveals

(Vienna, November 15, 2018) Pancreatic cancer death rates in the European Union (EU) have increased by 5% between 1990 and 2016, a report launched today reveals. This is the highest increase in any of the EU’s top five cancer killers which, as well as pancreatic cancer, includes lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer. 

‘Pancreatic Cancer Across Europe’, published by United European Gastroenterology (UEG) to coincide with World Pancreatic Cancer Day, examines the past and current state of pancreatic cancer care and treatment, as well as the future prospects, such as targeting the microbiome, for improving the prognosis for patients. Whilst lung, breast and colorectal cancer have seen significant reductions in death rates since 1990, deaths from pancreatic cancer continue to rise. Experts also believe that pancreatic cancer has now overtaken breast cancer as the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU.  Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival of all cancers in Europe. Responsible for over 95,000 EU deaths every year, the median survival time at the point of diagnosis is just 4.6 months, with patients losing 98% of their healthy life expectancy. Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, symptoms can be hard to identify, thus making it difficult to diagnose the disease early which is essential for life-saving surgery. Despite the rise in death rates and dreadfully low survival rates, pancreatic cancer receives less than 2% of all cancer research funding in Europe. Markus Peck, UEG expert, explains, “If we are to take a stand against the continent’s deadliest cancer, we must address the insufficient research funding; that is where the European Union can lead the way. Whilst medical and scientific innovations have positively changed the prospects for many cancer patients, those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have not been blessed with much clinically meaningful progress. To deliver earlier diagnoses and improved treatments we need to engage now in more basic as well as applied research to see real progress for our patients in the years to come.” Microbiome – the key to turning the tide? After forty years of limited progress in pancreatic cancer research, experts claim that new treatment options could finally be on the horizon as researchers investigate how changing the pancreas’ microbiome may help to slow tumour growth and enable the body to develop its own ‘defence mechanism’. The microbial population of a cancerous pancreas has been found to be approximately 1,000 times larger than that of a non-cancerous pancreas and research has shown that removing bacteria from the gut and pancreas slowed cancer growth and ‘reprogrammed’ immune cells to react against cancer cells. This development could lead to significant changes in clinical practice as removing bacterial species could improve the efficacy of chemotherapy or immunotherapy, offering hope that clinicians will finally be able to slow tumour growth, alter metastatic behaviour and ultimately change the disease’s progression. Professor Thomas Seufferlein, pancreatic cancer expert, comments, “Research looking at the impact of the microbiome on pancreatic cancer is a particularly exciting new area, as the pancreas was previously thought of as a sterile organ. Such research will also improve our understanding of the microenvironment in a metastatic setting and how the tumour responds to its environment. This will inform the metastatic behaviour and ultimately alter disease progression.” “With continued investment in pancreatic cancer research, we should have new, important findings within the next five years and, hopefully, find that targeting the microbiome as well as tumour cells will significantly improve treatment outcomes and reduce death rates”, adds Professor Seufferlein. Access the report
References:
  1. Pancreatic Cancer Across Europe: Taking a united stand (2018). Published by United European Gastroenterology.
  2. Ferlay J., Partensky C., Bray F. More deaths from pancreatic cancer than breast cancer in the EU by 2017. ACTA Oncologica, August 2016.
  3. Our World In Data, Cancer death rates by type (per 100,000), world. Available at: https://ourworldindata.org/cancer
  4. European Cancer Information System (ECIS), Estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in 2018, for all cancer sites. Available at: https://ecis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/explorer.php?$0-0$1-AE28$2-All$4-1,2$3-All$6-0,14$5-2008,2008$7-8$CEstByCancer$X0_8-3$CEstRelativeCanc$X1_8-3$X1_9-AE28
  5. Pancreatic Cancer Europe, 10 things you need to know about pancreatic cancer. Available at: https://www.pancreaticcancereurope.eu/work-streams/awareness-and-diagnosis/
Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an expert interview, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Markus Peck Professor Markus Peck is the Chairman at the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (IMuG) at Klinikum Klagenfurt am Wörthersee in Klagenfurt, Austria. He is the Chair of the UEG Public Affairs Committee. About Professor Thomas Seufferlein Thomas Seufferlein is a pancreatic cancer expert from the University of Ulm, Germany. He is a member of the UEG Public Affairs Committee. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Together, its member societies represent over 30,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository.
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: 
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

UEG Week: European colorectal cancer rates in young adults increasing by 6% per year

(Vienna, October 23, 2018) Colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence rates across Europe in adults aged 20 to 39 years increased by 6% every year between 2008 and 2016, new research has shown.

Data from 20* European national cancer registries was used to analyse trends in incidence rates of young adults with CRC across Europe over the last 25 years. For colon cancer, incidence rates increased by 1.5% per year between 1990-2008 and, more substantially, by 7.4% annually between 2008-2016. For rectal cancer, incidence rates increased by 1.8% per year from 1990-2016. In adults aged 40 to 49 years, overall CRC incidence rates increased by 1.4% every year from 2005. Presenting the research for the first time at UEG Week Vienna 2018, Dr Fanny Vuik explained, “We are aware of investigations in the North American population that demonstrates that colorectal cancer is increasing in young adults. In Europe, however, information until now has been limited and it’s worrying to see the startling rates at which colorectal cancer is increasing in the young.” Traditionally considered a disease that affects people over the age of 50, CRC is the second most common cancer across Europe, with approximately 500,000 new cases every year and incidence rates higher in men than women. Studies have found that young-onset CRC is often more aggressive and more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage than CRC in older populations. “The cause for this upward trend is still unknown, although it may be related to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, obesity and poor diets, all of which are known colorectal cancer risk factors”, added Dr Vuik. “Increased awareness and further research to elucidate causes for this trend are needed and may help to set up screening strategies to prevent and detect these cancers at an early and curable stage.” Strong evidence supports that screening for CRC reduces incidence and mortality rates, although many CRC screening programmes in Europe commence at the ages of 50 and 55. Inequalities in the type of screening offered, as well as participation and detection rates, are currently present throughout the continent. Dr Vuik adds, “The highest increase in incidence was found in adults between 20-29 years of age. Therefore, identifying those young adults at high risk of CRC is essential to ensuring early diagnosis and optimal patient outcomes.” * The countries included in the research were; Belgium, Catalonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Fanny Vuik, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr Fanny Vuik Dr Fanny Vuik is PhD candidate under supervision of Dr. Manon Spaander, Associate Professor in Gastroenterology at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam the Netherlands. About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Together, its member societies represent over 30,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository.
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: 
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter References
  1. Vuik, F. et al. 2018). Increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults in Europe. Presented at UEG Week Vienna, October 22, 2018.
  2. ECIS - European Cancer Information System. 2018. Estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in 2018, for all cancer sites. Available here. [Accessed 18 September 2018].
  3. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2017. Colorectal cancer in young adults: A difficult challenge. Available here. [Accessed 18 September 2018].

UEG Week: Does the gut microbiota hold the key to improved diagnosis and treatment of oesophageal cancer?

(Vienna, October 23, 2018) Oesophageal microbiota may help to improve the diagnosis and management of oesophageal cancer, according to the results of a study presented today. Researchers from Italy directed by Professor Cammarota have found a unique pattern of microbes living in the oesophagus of people with oesophageal cancer or Barrett’s oesophagus, which could potentially be used to identify at-risk individuals and pave the way for new types of treatment in the future.  

Speaking at UEG Week 2018 in Vienna, Austria, lead researcher, Dr Loris Riccardo Lopetuso from the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, said: “Despite the introduction of novel therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, the prognosis for people with oesophageal cancer remains poor. We need to develop a better understanding of what causes normal oesophageal cells to become malignant so we can find at-risk individuals as early as possible and develop alternative therapeutic strategies.” Oesophageal cancer is the 8th most common cancer worldwide and the 6th most common cause of cancer-related death. Most people present with established disease, so rates of mortality are high in most countries. Known risk factors include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD), obesity, smoking, low fruit/vegetable intake, and alcohol consumption, but other factors, including upper digestive tract microbiota are thought to be involved. In the study presented today, researchers aimed to characterize the composition of the oesophageal microbiota in patients with oesophageal cancer compared with patients with Barrett’s oesophagus and a control group of people with no evidence of the disease. Biopsy samples from six newly-diagnosed patients with oesophageal cancer, 10 with Barrett’s oesophagus and 10 controls were analysed for microbiota composition. A higher level of bacterial diversity was reported for patients with oesophageal cancer compared with the controls; there was a relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and a relative paucity of Firmicutes (different categories of microbiota) in the patients with oesophageal cancer compared with the controls. There were also lower levels of Streptococcus, and higher levels of Veillonella, Porphyromonas, and Prevotella (different types of bacteria) in those with oesophageal cancer compared with Barrett’s oesophagus patients and the controls. “These results indicate that there is a unique microbial signature for oesophageal cancer that might represent a risk factor for this condition,” said Dr Lopetuso. “If these findings are confirmed in our further analyses, it may be possible to imagine innovative diagnostic and therapeutic tools to help us manage this condition more successfully.” Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Loris Riccardo Lopetuso, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository.
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:         Follow UEG on Twitter References
  1. Lopetuso LR, Ianiro G, Severgnini M, et al. Characterization of esophageal microbiota in patients with Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. UEG Journal 2018. Presented at UEG Week Vienna 2018.
  2. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Dikshit R, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: sources, methods and major patterns in GLOBOCAN 2012. Int J Cancer. 2015;136(5):E359-86.
  3. Gupta B, Kumar N. Worldwide incidence, mortality and time trends for cancer of the oesophagus. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2017;26(2):107-118.
  4. Engel LS, Chow WH, Vaughan TL, et al. Population attributable risks of esophageal and gastric cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Sep 17;95(18):1404-13.
  5. Yang L, Chaudhary N, Baghdadi J, et al. Microbiome in reflux disorders and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer J. 2014;20(3):207-10.

UEG Week: Microplastics discovered in human stools across the globe in ‘first study of its kind’

(Vienna, October 23, 2018) Microplastics have been found in the human food chain as particles made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) and others were detected in human stools, research presented today at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna reveals.

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria monitored a group of participants from countries across the world, including Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the UK and Austria. The results show that every single stool sample tested positive for the presence of microplastic and up to nine different plastic types were identified. Microplastics are small particles of plastic less than 5mm and are used in various products for specific purposes; as well as being created unintentionally by the breaking down of larger pieces of plastic through weathering, degradation, wear and tear. Microplastic may impact human health via the GI tract where it could affect the tolerance and immune response of the gut by bioaccumulation or aiding transmission of toxic chemicals and pathogens. The pilot study was conducted with eight participants from across the globe. Each person kept a food diary in the week leading up to their stool sampling. The diaries showed that all participants were exposed to plastics by consuming plastic wrapped foods or drinking from plastic bottles. None of the participants were vegetarians and six of them consumed sea fish. The stools were tested at the Environment Agency Austria for 10 types of plastics following a newly developed analytical procedure. Up to nine different plastics, sized between 50 and 500 micrometres, were found, with polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) being the most common. On average, the researchers found 20 microplastic particles per 10g of stool. Lead researcher Dr. Philipp Schwabl, who is presenting the findings at the 26th UEG Week, commented: “This is the first study of its kind and confirms what we have long suspected, that plastics ultimately reach the human gut. Of particular concern is what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases. While the highest plastic concentrations in animal studies have been found in the gut, the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the blood stream, lymphatic system and may even reach the liver. Now that we have first evidence for microplastics inside humans, we need further research to understand what this means for human health.” Global plastics production has increased substantially from the 1950s and continues to grow every year. For their many practical characteristics, plastics are pervasive in everyday life and humans are exposed to plastics in numerous ways. It is estimated that, through pollution, 2-5 % of all plastics produced end up in the seas. Once in the ocean, plastics are consumed by sea animals and enter the food chain where ultimately, they are likely to be consumed by humans. Significant amounts of microplastic have been detected in tuna, lobster and shrimp. Beyond that it is highly likely that during various steps of food processing or as a result of packaging food is being contaminated with plastics. Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Philipp Schwabl, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr. Philipp Schwabl Dr. Philipp Schwabl is a researcher and physician scientist at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical University of Vienna, in the research team of Prof. Dr. Thomas Reiberger, and presenting this study at the UEG Week Vienna 2018. About Dr. Bettina Liebmann Dr. Bettina Liebmann is a consultant on environmental analyses and respected expert on microplastics at the Environment Agency Austria. She guides the method development for microplastic analysis by micro FT-IR spectroscopy and imaging and works on microplastic projects at both national and international level. About Umweltbundesamt – Environment Agency Austria The Environment Agency Austria is the most important national environmental expert organisation and one of Europe´s leading environmental consultants. Since 2007, the organisation has been operating an accredited human biomonitoring laboratory where blood, urine, tissue etc. are analyzed for a variety of environmental contaminants. Furthermore, the Environment Agency Austria is an international pioneer in the analysis of microplastics.  About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:         Follow UEG on Twitter References
  • Schwabl, P. et al (2018), Assessment of microplastic concentrations in human stool – Preliminary results of a prospective study, Presented at UEG Week 2018 Vienna, October 24, 2018.
  • European Chemicals Agency. 2018. Microplastics. [ONLINE] Available at: https://echa.europa.eu/hot-topics/microplastics. [Accessed 21 August 2018].
  • Hohenblum P., Liebmann B., Liedermann M. (2015): Plastic and Microplastic in the Environment. Environment Agency Austria, Vienna. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/fileadmin/site/publikationen/REP0551.pdf
  • Powell JJ, Thoree V, Pele LC. Dietary microparticles and their impact on tolerance and immune responsiveness of the gastrointestinal tract. The British journal of nutrition. 2007;98 Suppl 1:S59-63.
  • Geyer, Roland, Jenna R. Jambeck, and Kara Lavender Law. "Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made." Science advances 3.7 (2017): e1700782.
  • Romeo T, Pietro B, Peda C, Consoli P, Andaloro F, Fossi MC. First evidence of presence of plastic debris in stomach of large pelagic fish in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine pollution bulletin. 2015;95(1):358-361.
  • Murray F, Cowie PR. Plastic contamination in the decapod crustacean Nephrops norvegicus (Linnaeus, 1758). Marine pollution bulletin. 2011;62(6):1207-1217.
  • Devriese LI, van der Meulen MD, Maes T, et al. Microplastic contamination in brown shrimp (Crangon crangon, Linnaeus 1758) from coastal waters of the Southern North Sea and Channel area. Marine pollution bulletin. 2015;98(1-2):179-187.

UEG Week: Cannabis significantly improves the symptoms of Crohn’s disease

(Vienna, October 22, 2018) In the first study of its kind, cannabis oil has been shown to significantly improve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the quality of life of sufferers but, contrary to previous medical thinking, has no effect on gut inflammation.

In a randomised, placebo-controlled study, researchers from Israel have shown that cannabis can produce clinical remission in up to 65% of individuals after 8 weeks of treatment, but that this improvement does not appear to result from a dampening down of the underlying inflammatory process. Speaking at UEG Week 2018 in Vienna, lead researcher, Dr Timna Naftali explained, “Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of medical conditions, and studies have shown that many people with Crohn’s disease use cannabis regularly to relieve their symptoms.It has always been thought that this improvement was related to a reduction in inflammation in the gut and the aim of this study was to  investigate this.”  The Israeli team recruited 46 people with moderately severe Crohn’s disease, and randomized them to receive 8 weeks of treatment with either cannabis oil containing 15% cannabidiol and 4% tetrahydrocannabinol or placebo. Symptom severity and quality of life were measured before, during, and after treatment using validated research instruments. Inflammation in the gut was assessed endoscopically and by measuring inflammatory markers in blood and stool samples.  After 8 weeks of treatment, the group receiving the cannabis oil had a significant reduction in their Crohn’s disease symptoms compared with the placebo group, and 65%met strict criteria for clinical remission (versus 35% of the placebo recipients). The cannabis group also had significant improvements in their quality of life compared with the placebo group. “We have previously demonstrated that cannabis can produce measurable improvements in Crohn’s disease symptoms4 but, to our surprise, we saw no statistically significant improvements in endoscopic scores or in the inflammatory markers we measured in the cannabis oil group compared with the placebo group,” said Dr Naftali. “We know that cannabinoids can have profound anti-inflammatory effects but this study indicates that the improvement in symptoms may not be related to these anti-inflammatory properties.” Looking ahead, the research group plans to explore further the potential anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. “There are very good grounds to believe that the endocannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target in Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal diseases,” said Dr Naftali. “For now, however, we can only consider medicinal cannabis as an alternative or additional intervention that provides temporary symptom relief for some people with Crohn’s disease.’ Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Tinma Naftali, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr Timna Naftali Dr Timna Naftali is an MD Specialist in Gastroenterology at Meir Hospital and Kupat Holim Clinic, Tel Aviv University, Israel. About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Together, its member societies represent over 30,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:         Follow UEG on Twitter References
  1. Naftali T, Bar-Lev Schlieder L, Konikoff F, et al. Cannabis induces clinical response but no endoscopic response in Crohn’s disease patients. Presented at UEG Week Vienna 2018, October 22, 2018. 
  2. Lal S, Prasad N, Ryan M, et al. Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;23(10):891-6.
  3. Weiss A, Friedenberg F. Patterns of cannabis use in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A population based analysis. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;156:84-89.
  4. Naftali T, Bar-Lev Schleider L, Dotan I, et al. Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn's disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11(10):1276-1280.e1.

UEG Week: New research links Crohn’s disease to Black Death

(Vienna, October 22, 2018) European incidence of Crohn’s disease is likely to be a result of surviving the Black Death in the middle ages, according to new research presented today at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna. 

Researchers from Paris, France studied historical data on the intensity of plague outbreaks from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin between 800 and 1850AD. They found that there was statistical significance between outbreak intensities and Crohn’s disease-associated mutations in the general population – which help to explain modern-day prevalence of Crohn’s disease in Europe. Crohn’s disease is a chronic relapsing condition that, together with ulcerative colitis, comprises the disease known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The researchers looked at the gene NOD2 which plays an important role in the body’s immune system but mutations of which are related to the development of Crohn’s disease. Mutations of NOD2 have been shown to aid the resistance of the organism that causes the plague and the results of the study show that the prevalence of these mutations associated with Crohn’s disease are correlated with the intensities of plague outbreaks. Approximately 3 million Europeans are now affected by IBD, which costs European health systems up to €5.6 billion per year. The causes of IBD are not fully known, although research strongly suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a significant role. IBD can lead to an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and, whilst symptoms may develop at any age, the peak age of IBD onset is during adolescence or early adulthood. The Black Death was responsible for the deaths of millions of Europeans and is thought to have killed between 30-40% of the European population between 1347 and 1353. Professor Jean-Pierre Hugot, one of the leading researchers involved in the French study explains, “Considering the potential severity of Crohn’s disease when untreated, it is unlikely that it was a frequent disease before the 20th century. As healthcare systems have developed and care for Crohn’s disease patients has improved, more and more people are living with the disease. This research goes some way to explaining the genetic origins of Crohn’s and we hope it will enable us to better understand the disease, and how to treat it, in the future.” Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Jean-Pierre Hugot, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Jean-Pierre Hugot Professor Jean-Pierre Hugot is an IBD specialist and his research is focused on genetics and IBD. He is head of the Paediatric Digestive and Respiratory Diseases Department at the Robert Debré Hospital, Paris, France. About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Together, its member societies represent over 30,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:         Follow UEG on Twitter  References
  1. Dumay, A. et al (2018), Is Crohn’s Disease the price to pay today for having survived the Black Death? Presented at UEG Week Vienna 2018, October 22, 2018.
  2. Yamamoto, S & Ma, X (2009), Role of Nod2 in the development of Crohn’s disease. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924159/  
  3. Burisch, J. et al (2013), The burden of inflammatory bowel disease in Europe. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873994613000305
  4. United European Gastroenterology (2012), The Survey of Digestive Health in Europe. Available at: https://www.ueg.eu/research/white-book/

One in 10 IBS with diarrhoea patients wish they were dead when their condition is bad

 

(Vienna, August 7, 2018) Eleven percent of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D) patients reveal that they suffer from suicidal thinking when their condition is bad, a new study has found.

The research, published in the UEG Journal, assessed the burden associated with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea by surveying 513 patients and 679 healthcare professionals. A quarter of patients reported that IBS stops them from enjoying life and 11% agreed with the statement; ‘when my IBS is bad, I wish I was dead’. IBS is a functional bowel disorder, characterised by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. The disease affects 11% of adults globally, of whom one third experience diarrhoea as the predominant symptom. IBS-D is considered to be a brain-gut interaction disorder and a range of treatment approaches have been proposed, including diet and lifestyle modifications, probiotics and fibre supplements and various prescription and over-the-counter medications. Over a third of patients reported that they ‘constantly’ worry about whether and when their IBS symptoms will return and one in five stated that IBS had negatively affected their working life. Patients also revealed that, on average, they spend 18 days per month experiencing fatigue or a lack of energy. Half of patients reported that they would use a daily treatment for the rest of their life if it prevented their IBS symptoms (49%) and a ‘willingness to try anything’ to improve their condition (46%). Despite these alarming statistics, the survey outlined that one third of IBS patients do not think that healthcare professionals take the disease seriously and should provide more support in disease management. When reviewing the attitudes of healthcare professionals towards IBS, results showed that two-thirds agreed that patients should feel listened to and supported, with the vast majority stating that the main aim of their care when managing IBS is significantly improving their patients’ quality of life. Professor Hans Törnblom, lead author of the study, comments on the findings, “IBS can be an extremely tough, emotional and difficult condition to live with and, in addition to dedicating resources to improve the physical burden of IBS, it is essential that care and investment is committed to providing psychological and emotional support for patients. This should come from multi-disciplined healthcare professionals, as well as family members, friends and colleagues.” “The majority of IBS sufferers do not seek medical advice for their condition” added Professor Törnblom. “Of those that do speak to a healthcare professional, it is clear that there are high levels of dissatisfaction with the level of care that they currently receive. Healthcare professionals experience a degree of uncertainty and complexity in managing IBS patients and the research indicates the need for higher levels of communication between care providers and patients to facilitate improved patient outcomes.” References: Understanding symptom burden and attitudes to irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea: Results from patient and healthcare professional surveys. UEG Journal. Published July 2018. Lacy BE, Mearin F, Chang L, et al. Bowel disorders. Gastroenterology 2016; 150: 1393–1407. Lovell RM and Ford AC. Global prevalence of and risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome: A meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatology 2012; 10: 712–721. Notes to Editors
For further information, to view the full paper or to arrange an expert interview, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Hans Törnblom
Professor Hans Törnblom is from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and is a member of the UEG Public Affairs Committee. About UEG
UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 25,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository.
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu
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