MEPs call for more early screening in fight to prevent cancers

(Brussels, May 26, 2016) Members of the European Parliament, together with European health organisations, are calling for more early screening to prevent digestive cancers that kill more than 500,000 people in Europe every year.

The MEPs against Cancer (MAC), led by MEP Pavel Poc (Czech Republic, S&D), made the call during a policy discussion “Prevention, Promotion and Screening: European Code against Cancer” held today in the European Parliament. The event was organised to draw attention to the 4th European Code against Cancer and the importance of early detection. MEP Poc said that the recommendations of the Code are very simple, yet scientifically proven actions, which can be taken to help prevent cancer. “I encourage everyone to get familiar with the Code and share the recommendations with friends and family. Especially in current times, with the EU facing many crises that cast shadows over the health agenda, we should make our best efforts to avoid yet another one - this time in public health”. MEP Poc said that in the EU, more than one and a quarter million people die from cancer every year, which is just over one quarter of the total number of deaths. It was pointed out that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the recommendations in the European Code against Cancer. The latest edition of the code recommends 12 actions that can be taken. The event was organised in the framework of the European Week against Cancer (May 25 to May 31) by United European Gastroenterology (UEG), the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) and MEPs against Cancer (MAC). The policy discussion focused particularly on digestive cancers. Thierry Ponchon, Chair UEG Public Affairs Committee, explained that the current rates for CRC screening programmes vary from as little as 17% in areas of Poland and just 22% in Belgium, to a healthier rate of 64% in Norway and 70% in Finland. “As health professionals we are committed to all efforts that would help to make uptake of cancer screening programmes higher,” he said. Health professionals play an essential role in the prevention and early detection of major chronic diseases. The actions to prevent specific chronic diseases also apply to the prevention of other major chronic illnesses. Health professionals are integral to making this connection work in practice. Dr Sakari Karjalainen, ECL President said: “as part of our long-term strategy, ECL strongly supports equitable access to quality controlled cancer screening programmes in accordance with EU guidelines and the best available international evidence, as outlined in the recommendations of the European Code Against Cancer.” He welcomed the collaborative initiatives “ECL is delighted to partner with important health professional associations such as UEG with whom we have collaborated previously for the European Colorectal Cancer Days,” he added. “Health professionals are absolutely essential actors for improving public health via the promotion of all of the messages of the European Code against Cancer.” Access Colorectal Cancer Screening Across Europe leaflet Notes to Editors 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. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Digestive Health Month, in May, is in an initiative being held to raise awareness about digestive health in Europe and to highlight how additional funding can help to advance the understanding of related diseases. In the framework of the initiative, UEG is hosting two events in the European Parliament and also features on social media with the hashtag #DigestiveHealthMonth.
  • 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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
About Professor Thierry Ponchon Professor Thierry Ponchon is from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France. He is a UEG endoscopy specialist and a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee. To interview Professor Ponchon, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Association of European Cancer Leagues The role of ECL is to facilitate the collaboration between cancer leagues throughout Europe and to influence EU and pan-European policies.  The mission of the Association of European Cancer Leagues is to influence and improve cancer control and cancer care in Europe through collaboration between its members in their fight against cancer, and to influence EU and pan-European policies. About MEPs against Cancer MAC is a group of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) dedicated to supporting cancer prevention and control at the EU level and beyond. MAC is led by MEP Alojz Peterle. About MEP Pavel Poc Pavel Poc is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Czech Republic and is a member of S&D Group (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament). MEP Poc is a Vice Chair of the ENVI Committee and Vice Chair of initiative MEPs against Cancer. Contact Details: UEG Brussels Office +32 2 536 86 68 publicaffairs@ueg.eu

Medics call for urgent improvements in the quality of endoscopy across Europe

(Vienna, March 30, 2016) Every year, tens of millions of individuals across Europe undergo endoscopic procedures to assist with the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal diseases. However, significant variation in current endoscopy provision across Europe has been reported, with back-to-back colonoscopy studies demonstrating that a concerning 22% of all adenomas are missed and that a three-to-six fold variation in adenoma detection is present between endoscopists.

This inconsistent provision, coupled with improved first-line screening methods, has created a requirement to improve the quality of endoscopy services as endoscopy of a high quality have been shown to deliver superior health outcomes, better patient experience and fewer repeat procedures. United European Gastroenterology (UEG) and The European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) have therefore published a joint paper which identifies a need for change and outlines the first phase of a series of recommendations for improvements in quality standards of endoscopy. UEG endoscopy specialist Professor Thierry Ponchon, who is a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee, welcomes the publication of new standards. “Endoscopy services throughout Europe are at a critical point at the current time. We must make improvements in the quality of service for our patients a major and immediate priority. Our aim is achieve high quality standards for endoscopy throughout Europe over the next two years and create a thriving community of endoscopy services for all.” Central to any endoscopy practice is the endoscopy report, which facilitates the exchange of essential information such as the endoscopy findings and clinical recommendations. As with many forms of medical records, endoscopy reports are traditionally unstructured and utilise free text, which acts as a barrier for quality assurance and increases the difficulty in comparing and translating records. In facilitating UEG and ESGE’s vision and to ensure the continuous measurement of endoscopy quality for patients, ten requirements for endoscopic reporting systems have been outlined and published in the April issue of the UEG Journal: 
  1. Endoscopy reporting systems must be electronic.
  2. Endoscopy reporting systems should be integrated into hospital patient record systems.
  3. Endoscopy reporting systems should include patient identifiers to facilitate data linkage to other data sources.
  4. Endoscopy reporting systems shall restrict the use of free text entry to a minimum, and be based mainly on structured data entry.
  5. Separate entry of data for quality or research purposes is discouraged. Automatic data transfer for quality and research purposes must be facilitated.
  6. Double entry of data by the endoscopist or associate personnel is discouraged. Available data from outside sources (administrative or medical) must be made available automatically.
  7. Endoscopy reporting systems shall enable the inclusion of information on:
    1. Histopathology of detected lesions
    2. Patient’s satisfaction
    3. Adverse events
    4. Surveillance recommendations.
  8. Endoscopy reporting systems must facilitate easy data retrieval at any time in a universally compatible format.
  9. Endoscopy reporting systems must include data fields for key performance indicators as defined by quality improvement committees.
  10. Endoscopy reporting systems must facilitate changes in indicators and data entry fields as required by professional organisations.
Professor Matthew Rutter, Chair of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee, comments, “The implementation of appropriate information technology infrastructure, based around electronic endoscopy reporting systems, is an important step in quality improvement. Units should ensure that they have, and use, such a system – both to capture endoscopic data and create structured endoscopy reports, and to permit standardized performance measure reporting.” References 
  1. Stephen Roberts, David Samuel, John Williams, et al, Survey of digestive health across Europe: Final report. Part 1: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe, UEG Journal 2014; 2:539–43.
  2. Matthew D Rutter, et al, The European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Quality Improvement Initiative: developing performance measures, UEG Journal 2016.
  3. Matthew D Rutter, Colin J Rees, Quality in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Endoscopy, 2014.
  4. Michael Bretthauer, et al, Reporting systems in gastrointestinal endoscopy: Requirements and standards facilitating quality improvement: European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy position statement, UEG Journal 2016; 4:172-77. 
Notes to Editors 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. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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
About ESGE ESGE, or The European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, represents 49 national societies of endoscopy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa. The ESGE Quality Improvement Initiative aims to improve the global quality of endoscopy and the delivery of patient-centred endoscopy services. About Professor Thierry Ponchon Professor Thierry Ponchon is from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France. He is a UEG endoscopy specialist and a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee. To interview Professor Ponchon, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Matthew Rutter Professor Matthew Rutter is from Tees Hospital in the UK. He has extensive knowledge in the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal conditions and is Chair of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee.

One in four cases of CRC diagnosed within two years of a negative screening result

(Vienna, 23 February 2016) One in four cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) detected in a guiac faecal occult blood testing (gFOBT) programme are diagnosed within two years of a negative screening result, a study in the The UEG Journal has found, suggesting that gFOBT should be replaced by more sensitive screening methods to improve detection rates.

CRC is the most common type of digestive cancer in Europe and annual incidence is predicted to rise by 12% by 2020.   The observational study was carried out on 772,790 people during the first round of the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, in which individuals aged 50-74 years were invited to participate in gFOBT screening over a two year study. Overall uptake of the screening was 54%, and of the 1,979 individuals who were diagnosed with CRC during the study period, 25% of the cases detected were within two years of a negative screening result (interval cancers).   Professor Evelien Dekker, United European Gastroenterology CRC screening expert, comments: “Although there are no universal guidelines on an acceptable interval cancer rate, this study supports the need to switch CRC screening with gFOBT to a more sensitive method, such as faecal immunochemical testing, to help reduce this figure”. Due to its superior analytical technique and adjustable cut-off levels, faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) offers substantial clinical benefits which could help increase CRC detection during screening. Comparative studies between the two faecal tests have been performed and have demonstrated the superiority of FIT over gFOBT screening. FIT has been fully implemented in some areas of Europe such as France and Slovenia, demonstrating robust results so far. A nationwide programme is currently being rolled out in the Netherlands and other nations are piloting the method too. As well as its enhanced clinical benefits, utilising FIT has been shown to increase participation rates in CRC screening because the test is easier to perform and typically uses only a single faecal sample instead of the three required in gFOBT. “The simplicity of FIT should encourage a larger proportion of the public to undertake CRC screening, which also can help increase the levels early detection to improve survival rates” explains Professor Dekker. “With incidence of CRC expected to rise between now and 2020, implementing FIT across Europe should help increase screening participation rates. In the Netherlands we have experienced a participation rate that is 12% higher for FIT compared to gFOBT”.    The Need for Screening: With 355,436 people (46%) not participating in screening during the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, the study also highlighted that 47% cases of CRC arose in these non-participants. This compares to just 28% of patients receiving diagnosis through a screening test, where the cancer is more likely to be detected at an earlier stage (see table below). Early detection of CRC results in a high survival rate, emphasising the requirement that both an effective screening process and a high uptake of screening should be targeted to identify and treat the disease as early as possible. Professor Dekker adds: “These findings demonstrate that members of the public should be encouraged to participate in CRC screening and not ignore the potential symptoms of CRC after a negative screening result. Consultation with a doctor is strongly advised if symptoms occur, which include blood in the stool or a persistent change in bowel habits”. 

Stage

Screen-detected Cancer (%)

Interval Cancer (%)

Non-participant Cancer (%)

A

33.9

18.7

11.3

B

25.6

25.5

25.3

C

25.2

28.5

29.3

D

6.3

18.9

21.5

Unknown

9

8.4

12.6

Read the full study, published in the UEG Journal Notes to Editors 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. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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
About Professor Dekker Professor Evelien Dekker, UEG spokesperson and colorectal cancer screening expert, AMC Amsterdam Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Netherlands. To interview Professor Dekker, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu References
  1. Steele RJC, Stanners G, et al. Interval cancers in a national colorectal cancer screening programme. UEG Journal. January 2016. http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/06/2050640615624294.full
  2. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014.
  3. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  4. Van Rossum L et al, Gastro 2008
  5. Hol L et al, Gut 2010
  6. Allison JE, Halloran SP, Population screening for colorectal cancer means getting FIT: The past, the present, and future of colorectal cancer screening using the faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT). Gut and Liver. March 2014. http://www.gutnliver.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.5009/gnl.2014.8.2.117

Experts call for a new approach to reducing cases of pancreatic cancer 

(Vienna, November 10, 2015) Pancreatic cancer survival rates have remained at an alarmingly low 3 to 6% for more than 40 years. Ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, 13 November 2015, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) call for greater action from healthcare providers and governments on pancreatic cancer and new public health initiatives to raise awareness of symptoms and risk factors and ensure earlier diagnosis and an increase in survival rates.

Pancreatic cancer is the eighth most common cancer in Europe, with approximately 104,000 newly diagnosed cases annually yet, according to Matthias Löhr, UEG pancreatic cancer specialist, knowledge of the disease is alarmingly low. “Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with highly unmet medical need.  It is vital that there is more awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of pancreatic cancer among the public and medical community to allow more people to be diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure". Chronic pancreatitis and diabetes as well as lifestyle and environmental factors such as, obesity and smoking are well-recognised major risk factors for pancreatic cancer but collectively only account for less than half of all pancreatic cancer cases. According to UEG’s Survey of Digestive Health across Europe, increased risks for people with diabetes have been reported as between 40% and 120% and people who smoke have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (a pre-cursor to pancreatic cancer) ten years earlier than non-smokers. In fact, The European (EPIC) study showed that passive smoking, either in the home or at work, can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 50 per cent and that children who are exposed daily to tobacco smoke have double the risk of contracting pancreatic cancer in later life. However, recent research also indicates a strong link between pancreatic cancer and common bacterial infections. Epidemiological data suggest that Helicobacter pylori, a common strain of bacteria found in the stomach, may be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. These bacterial infections may contribute to the progression of pancreatic cancer by acting jointly with other risk factors that impact inflammation and immune response, such as smoking and obesity. “A well as action from healthcare providers, increasing public awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and following some simple lifestyle improvements will go a long way to ensuring that pancreatic cancer survival rates dramatically improve within the next few years" adds Professor Löhr. “Symptoms to look out for include: abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea and changes in stools and I recommend to all my patients that they can reduce risk of any cancer by following a balanced diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking and visiting the dentist regularly". Notes to Editors Available for interview Professor Matthias Löhr, UEG spokesperson and European pancreatic cancer expert, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden About World Pancreatic Cancer Day – November 13th 2015 WPCD is an awareness initiative set up by a group of international pancreatic cancer organisations. For further information see https://pancreaticcanceraction.org/support-us/awareness-month/world-pancreatic-cancer-day-2/ Worldwide there are around 280,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year and it is the seventh biggest cancer killer (fifth in the UK), yet so many people know nothing about it. But they can be forgiven for that because unfortunately, it barely gets attention. This cancer is chronically underfunded and has languished in the ‘too-hard-to-deal-with’ category for far too long. This is reflected in the dire survival rates between 3 to 6%, which haven’t improved for more than 40 years. More awareness and understanding about the illness among the public, medical community and government and the resulting investment and interest in the disease will allow more people to be diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a member of The European Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Pancreatic Cancer, which aims at bringing the burden of pancreatic cancer to the attention of EU-level decision-makers and improving public and especially political awareness of the disease. The EMSPPC calls for an EU-wide network of pancreatic cancer registries and earlier diagnosis through greater research funding. UEG 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 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting http://www.ueg.eu/press/ or contact:         Luke Paskins media@ueg.eu     Tel: +44(0)1444 811099     @UEGMedia References: 
  1. https://www.pancan.org/section-about/news-press-center/2012-press-releases/survival-rate-for-pancreatic-cancer-remains-unchanged-while-other-leading-cancers-see-an-increase-in-their-relative-survival-rates/
  2. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/pancreatic-cancer/incidence#ref-5
  3. Michaud DS Role of bacterial infections in pancreatic cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Oct; 34 (10): 2193-7
  4. Vrieling, A., et al., Cigarette smoking, environmental tobacco smoke exposure and pancreatic cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Int J Cancer 2009.
  5. Chuan,S.C., Gallo, V., Michaud, D., et al.,  Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in childhood and incidence of cancer in adulthood in never smokers in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. Cancer Causes Control 2011. 22(3):487-94.
  6. Michaud DS Role of bacterial infections in pancreatic cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Oct; 34 (10): 2193-7

UEG Week: Zonulin in the spotlight as researchers find new link with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and IBS

(Barcelona, October 28, 2015) The intriguing story of the recently-discovered protein, zonulin, advances a chapter today as Italian scientists announce the results of their latest research linking zonulin with two common inflammatory bowel conditions.

The researchers have discovered that people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have higher than normal blood levels of zonulin, suggesting an important role for the protein in the development of these conditions. Speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Giovanni Barbara from the University of Bologna said the results may lead to new treatment strategies for these conditions. “We were intrigued to find that blood levels of zonulin were almost as high in patients with NCGS as in those with coeliac disease,” he said.  Zonulin in autoimmune disease Zonulin is a type of protein (a haptoglobin) that was discovered in 2000 by a team of researchers at Maryland School of Medicine in the USA. The protein is found within intestinal cells and it is the only human protein discovered so far that regulates the permeability of the intestine. Zonulin has been called a “tight junction regulator”, as it controls the size of the gaps between the intestinal cells and orchestrates the passage of nutrients, water and cells into and out of the gut. Scientists have found that zonulin is produced and released by triggers including intestinal bacterial infections and gluten, and a link between zonulin and coeliac disease has already been established. In the presence of zonulin, the normally tight junctions between the intestinal cells remain open, creating bowel “leakiness” and initiating an inflammatory cascade that eventually damages the intestinal wall. “Increased intestinal permeability has been implicated in a range of autoimmune conditions including coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis,” explained Prof. Barbara. “Since zonulin is a key regulator of intestinal permeability, it is possible that this protein provides a common link between all these conditions.”  Zonulin in NCGS and IBS In the latest study, the team from Bologna recruited patients with NCGS (n=27), diarrhoea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) (n=15), coeliac disease (n=15) and healthy volunteers (n=15) and they measured their blood levels of zonulin.1 The highest zonulin levels were found in the patients with coeliac disease (mean 0.033 ng/mg), followed by those with NCGS (mean 0.030 ng/mg) and IBS-D (mean 0.012 ng/mg). The mean level in the healthy volunteers was only 0.007 ng/mg. In the patients with NCGS, blood levels of zonulin fell significantly when they were eating a gluten-free diet. “This study has increased our understanding of zonulin and how it might contribute to the development of these common and disabling bowel conditions,” said Prof. Barbara. “Hopefully, our work will lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with these and possibly other autoimmune conditions.” Access this press release in Spanish Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Barbara, 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 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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 
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 @UEGMedia References 1. Barbaro MR, et al. The role of zonulin in non-celiac gluten sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome. Abstract presented at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015), October 24–27 2015, Barcelona, Spain. 2. Fasano A. Ann NY Acad Sci 2012;1258:25–33.

UEG Week: Improving risk profiling is key to preventing many GI cancers

(Barcelona, October 27, 2015) Cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract continue to exert their toll across Europe, with many diagnosed too late for effective treatment. Bowel cancer screening programmes are now underway in most European countries, but screening for other GI cancers is patchy and not necessarily well-targeted. Today, experts at United European Gastroenterology (UEG) call for better risk profiling for all GI cancers in order to develop more targeted approaches to their screening and prevention.

“Our growing understanding of the causes of these cancers, coupled with new diagnostic techniques, mean we are in a good position to start developing precision prevention programmes,” said Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the University of Cambridge in the UK, speaking at UEG Week 2015 in Barcelona. “These would ensure we triage individuals based on their relative risk and apply the most appropriate screening, prevention and treatment options to each individual.” Precision prevention of oesophageal cancer Prof. Fitzgerald and colleagues have recently applied the principles of precision prevention to the most common type of oesophageal cancer, known as oesophageal adenocarcinoma. This cancer is usually found in the lower part of the oesophagus, and is often associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and its complications. The incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma has risen alarmingly over the past few decades, and despite treatment improvements, around half of all patients still die within a year of diagnosis. “We know from studies in the US that only about 7% of people with oesophageal adenocarcinoma are detected using current screening approaches,” explains Prof. Fitzgerald. “Our theory is that we are taking the wrong approach to screening and preventing this type of cancer and we are proposing a new approach to risk stratification that could be applied to other GI cancers.” A five-tier strategy According to Prof. Fitzgerald’s new five-tier model of precision prevention, screening and preventative approaches for oesophageal adenocarcinoma would differ according to absolute risk.1 People at the lowest risk levels (levels 1 and 2) would be encouraged to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk, with primary care physicians assessing demographic risk factors (e.g. age, sex and race), recurrent reflux symptoms, family history and potential biomarkers in the blood and/or urine. Non-invasive techniques for oesophageal tissue sampling (such as Cytosponge™) and additional biomarker and genetic analyses would be applied in primary care to those at risk level 3, while secondary care endoscopy would be reserved for screening only those at risk level 4. At the highest risk level (level 5), patients would be referred to, and managed in, tertiary care. “If this protocol was applied on a population-wide basis, it would include many at-risk individuals who are not covered by current screening practices,” said Prof. Fitzgerald. “Stratifying risk in this way and applying risk-appropriate screening and prevention options would be cost-effective and detect many more cases of oesophageal cancer in their early stages.” “OMICs” and genetic analysis New methods of predicting the risk of, and identifying, different GI cancers are currently being evaluated and could help to inform precision prevention models such as the one proposed by Prof. Fitzgerald. Genetic analysis is already used to predict risk in several different types of cancer, and scientists have recently found a cluster of genetic mutations that help to predict the risk of Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer). Metabolomics, which analyses body fluids and tissue samples for particular chemicals, is a relative new technique that also looks promising for the detection of stomach cancer. “We are poised on the brink of having new techniques that should help us predict the risk of GI cancers in the future, ensure we prevent those we can, and detect many others far earlier than we do now,” said Prof. Fitzgerald. Access this press release in Spanish Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Fiztgerald, 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 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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 
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 @UEGMedia References: 1. Vaughan TL, Fitzgerald RC. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;12:243–8. 2. Thompson BA, Spurdle AB, Plazzer J-P, et al. Nat Genet 2014;46:107–15.  3. Chan AW, Gill RS, Sawyer MB. World J Gastroenterol 2014;20:12874­–82.

UEG Week: Increased risk of large bowel cancer for each 1 cm rise in waist circumference

(Barcelona, October 26, 2015) Experts speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain today revealed compelling evidence of the link between excess body weight and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University in the UK presented data showing an overall increase of 18% in relative risk of CRC per 5 unit increase in BMI.

“In addition, in men, there is now evidence that increasing waist circumference in middle age is associated with increased bowel cancer risk”, says Prof. Mathers. CRC risk was increased by nearly 60% in men who gained at least 10 cm in waist circumference over 10 years. “This increased cancer risk may be due to persistent inflammation in people with obesity”.

Patients with Lynch Syndrome (LS) have a higher than normal risk of CRC because of an inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for repairing DNA. Prof. Mathers presented new data showing that, in people with Lynch Syndrome, CRC risk increases with higher body weight and for those who are obese the risk of CRC is doubled. Quite surprisingly, the increase in CRC risk with higher body weight in people with Lynch Syndrome was about twice as great as that seen in the general population.

Prof. Mathers said “There is now compelling evidence that improved lifestyle, particularly better dietary choices and being more physically active, can help to prevent obesity and this will lower bowel cancer risk”. In addition, for those people who are already too heavy, losing weight may reduce their CRC risk but this is an area which requires further study. In his studies with Lynch Syndrome patients, Prof. Mathers observed that aspirin lowered the excess CRC risk seen in patients with obesity, perhaps through its anti-inflammatory effects. “This is a very intriguing finding” said Prof Mathers “which suggests that dietary and other anti-inflammatory agents might be beneficial in reducing CRC risk in people with obesity”.

“Bowel cancer is strongly associated with age, obesity and diet – and is driven by inflammation”, explains Prof. Mathers. “We can now give the public clear advice on the benefits of staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding weight gain to lower CRC risk as we get older”.   Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Barbara, 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 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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 
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 @UEGMedia References 1. Ning Y et al. (2012) Obesity Reviews 11, 19-30 
2. Song M et al. (2015) Int. J. Epidemiol. PMID: 26403814 
3. Movahedi M et al. (2015) J. Clin. Oncol. PMID: 26282643

UEG Week: Obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy increase risk of obesity in childhood

(Barcelona, October 26, 2015) Overweight and obese women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy may be putting their babies at risk of a lifetime of obesity. Today, experts from United European Gastroenterology are calling for women of childbearing age to aim to maintain a normal body weight, and for expectant mothers to stay physically active and consume a balanced diet to avoid permanent damage to their child’s health.

Speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Berthold Koletzko from Hauner Children’s Hospital at the University of Munich, Germany, explains that evidence is mounting that excessive weight gain as well as early nutrition play a vital role in many aspects of future health. “We know that a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet in pregnancy increase the risk of children becoming overweight and obese, but we now also think that babies in the womb can have their genetic make-up permanently altered depending on the mother’s diet”, he said. Childhood obesity epidemic The incidence of obesity among children is rising at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organisation, between 1990 and 2013, the number of obese children aged less than 6 years increased from 32 million to 44 million globally – an increase of almost 40%. If current trends continue, by 2025, it has been estimated there will be 70 million obese young children worldwide. Many factors contribute to the development of obesity in childhood, including the child’s genetic make-up, the consumption of energy-dense, high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods, and a lack of physical activity. Studies have also suggested that overweight and obese women at the time when they become pregnant are much more likely to have fatter children than those who are not overweight before or during pregnancy. According to Prof. Koletzko, exposure of the unborn child to an excess of fuels such as glucose and fatty acids may cause permanent metabolic reprogramming in the child that leads to life-long obesity after birth. “Perhaps even more worryingly, these metabolic and epigenetic changes can be passed from generation to generation, which has major public health implications,” he said. Lifestyle during pregnancy and optimized infant feeding Maintaining physical activity and following a balanced diet with limited sugar and saturated fat during pregnancy can be effective in reducing a very high birth weight of babies, a key risk factor for obesity in later life. After birth, improved infant feeding is an effective tool for obesity prevention. In a large controlled study including children in five European countries, Prof. Koletzko and his team demonstrated that an improved infant formula, with lowered protein content - more similar to the protein level in breast milk – lowered the rate of obesity at the early age of 2 by 9 fold, as compared to conventional protein-rich bottle milk. He comments “These results demonstrate that improving nutrition and lifestyle during the first 1,000 days of life, including pregnancy and the first two years of childhood, provide enormous opportunity for improving lifelong health and well-being”. The Early Nutrition Project Prof. Koletzko and researchers from 12 European countries, the USA and Australia have launched the Early Nutrition Project (http://www.project-earlynutrition.eu/eneu/) to study how early nutritional programming and lifestyle factors impact the rates of obesity and related disorders, with a budget of more than 11 million Euros. “We believe that if we can understand how metabolic reprogramming in early life alters an individual’s susceptibility to becoming overweight, we might be able to intervene to prevent or even reverse the process,” he said. Access this press release in Spanish Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Gasbarrini, 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 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
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • 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 
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 @UEGMedia References 1. Koletzko B, Brands B, Chourdakis M, Cramer S, Grote V, Hellmuth C, et al. The Power of Programming and The Early Nutrition Project: opportunities for health promotion by nutrition during the first thousand days of life and beyond. Ann Nutr Metab 2014;64:141–50. 2. Oddy WH, Mori TA, Huang RC, Marsh J, Pennell C, Jacoby P, et al. Early infant feeding and adiposity risk: from infancy to adulthood. Ann Nutr Metab. 2014;64:215–23. 3. Koletzko B, Chourdakis M, Grote H, Hellmuth C, Prell C, Rzehak P, et al. Regulation of early human growth: impact on long-term health. Ann Nutr Metab. 2014;64:141–50. 4. Koletzko B, Bauer CP, Bung P, Cremer M, Flothkotter M, Hellmers C, et al. German national consensus recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy by the 'Healthy Start - Young Family Network'. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(4):311-22. PubMed PMID: 24514069. Epub 2014/02/12. eng. 5. Dodd JM, Turnbull D, McPhee AJ, Deussen AR, Grivell RM, Yelland LN, et al. Antenatal lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese: LIMIT randomised trial. BMJ. 2014;348:g1285. PubMed PMID: 24513442. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3919179. Epub 2014/02/12. eng. 6. Schellong K, Schulz S, Harder T, Plagemann A. Birth weight and long-term overweight risk: systematic review and a meta-analysis including 643,902 persons from 66 studies and 26 countries globally. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47776. PubMed PMID: 23082214. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3474767.
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