Public at risk due to current medical practices for the detection of hepatitis C infection

(July 27, 2015) Tackling the hepatitis C virus (HCV) ‘pandemic’ is now seen as a key public health priority as approximately 60% of all diagnosed patients in Europe remain untreated, with the risk of late diagnosis potentially leading to liver cirrhosis and cancer. This is despite new European treatment guidelines advocating targeted screening for HCV infection and the use of new direct-acting antiviral agents in preference to the older interferon-based regimens.

To coincide with World Hepatitis Day on July 28 2015, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Vice President and liver specialist, Professor Michael Manns, calls for improvements in national strategies for HCV screening and treatment to ensure that more people are diagnosed as early as possible and have the best possible chance of a cure. “Current treatment regimens for HCV infection can eradicate the virus in up to 100% of people treated, depending on the type of virus, the drug combination used, and the general health of the individual,” says Prof. Manns. “With possible cure rates as high as these, we have the potential to eradicate this infection, preventing many cases of chronic liver disease, and saving thousands of lives.” The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) has recently published guidelines for the treatment of HCV infection that recommend that screening for HCV infection should be implemented in targeted populations defined according to local infection trends, ideally within the framework of national plans. The guidelines recognise the differences in healthcare funding across Europe, but aim to harmonise HCV treatment across its different countries and regions. “These new guidelines include recommendations for the use of the newer treatments that, cost issues aside, should ideally replace the older interferon-based regimens,” says Prof. Manns. “Our universal goals, which are reflected in these European guidelines, should be to identify and cure as many people as possible with chronic HCV infection, thereby preventing its spread and limiting its serious health consequences.” It has been estimated that approximately 9 million people in Europe are chronically infected with HCV, with 86,000 HCV-related deaths occurring in Europe each year1. Chronic HCV infection ­frequently leads to liver damage and cirrhosis that may progress into liver cancer. The UEG Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe reports that in western Europe HCV leads to 40% of all cases of liver cirrhosis and 60% of all cases of hepatocellular cancer. Unfortunately, receiving a diagnosis of HCV infection does not guarantee access to treatment. A recent systematic review of the European literature found that HCV treatment rates varied by country, with the lowest rates reported in Eastern and North-West Europe (e.g. UK, Russia) and the highest rates reported in Italy. Barriers to treatment in those with a diagnosis include a failure to seek treatment, a lack of financial resources and ongoing injection drug or alcohol abuse”. Studies have also found that the single most important barrier to HCV treatment is a lack of awareness, with up to 75% of people living with chronic HCV infection unaware that they have the infection. 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. 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. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
  • 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 References 1.     Papatheodoridis GV, Tsochartzis E, Hardtke S, et al. Liver Int 2014;34(10):1452­­–63. 2.     www.easl.eu - European Association for the Study of the Liver. J Hepatol 2015;63(1):199–236. 3.     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 4.     McGowan CE, Fried MW. Liver Int 2012;32(Suppl 1):151­–56.

Vitamin D shows promise for treating Crohn’s disease in pilot study

(June 10, 2015) New research published in this month’s edition of United European Gastroenterology Journal suggests that supplementation with vitamin D may  impact on the intestinal barrier dysfunction associated with Crohn’s disease, and could have a role in the treatment of the condition.

The study is by Professor Maria O’Sullivan and Tara Raftery. Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Crohn’s disease (CD) is a lifelong chronic relapsing and remitting gastrointestinal condition, characterised by inflammation, which can involve any portion of the gastrointestinal tract. CD is associated with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue and in many cases can result in a reduction of quality of life, time off work, hospitalisations and surgery. The exact causes are unknown; however, immune, genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. Incidence of CD varies across Europe, with up to 10 cases per 100,000 population per year. Generally, case rates are higher in northern and western Europe than southern and eastern Europe. There is emerging data that Vitamin D supplementation may prolong remission in CD; however, the clinical efficacy and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this new research, the authors aimed to determine changes in gut barrier function (as determined by intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide concentrations) as well as disease markers in CD, in response to vitamin D supplementation. In a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled study, the authors assigned 27 CD patients in remission to 2000 IU/day vitamin D supplementation or placebo for 3 months. They found, that patients treated with the supplementation were more likely to maintain their intestinal permeability, whereas this deteriorated in the placebo group. Increased intestinal permeability is considered a measure of gut leakiness, which is shown to predict and precede clinical relapse in CD. In addition, patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had signs of reduced inflammation (measured by C-reactive protein and antimicrobial peptides), and these patients also reported better quality of life. The authors conclude: “This is the first reporting of effects of vitamin D supplementation on intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide measures in a CD cohort. Whilst the data requires further confirmation, it broadly supports evidence from previous experimental studies that suggest a role for vitamin D in maintaining intestinal barrier integrity.”  Whilst the data is promising, the authors highlight that in order to understand its translation into treatment for CD, further larger randomised controlled trials will be required. UEG’s inflammatory bowel disease expert, Dr Charles Murray of the Royal Free Hospital, London, UK comments; “This is an exciting development in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and we welcome anything new that could potentially help patients with this debilitating condition”. Notes to Editors  Media Contacts Dr Charles Murray, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK - please contact Luke Paskins, UEG. T. +44 (0) 1444 811099.  E. media@ueg.eu Associate Professor Maria O’Sullivan, Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. T. + 353 1 896 4039. E. maria.osullivan@tcd.ie 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. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN · 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. Visit www.ueg.eu For further information and interviews, please contact:         Luke Paskins: media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 References For the full UEG Journal article, see: http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/02/06/2050640615572176.full.pdf+html For further information on incidence of Crohn’s disease in Europe, see: https://ueg.eu/epaper/WhiteBook.Brochure/index.html#/6

Experts Across Europe Call for Earlier Detection of Oesophageal Cancer in a Bid to Improve Survival Rates.

(May 21, 2015) Recent estimates indicate that more than 34,000 new cases of oesophageal cancer are recorded across Europe annually, with incidence more than three times higher in men than women and only a 12% survival rate at five years. 

European body - United European Gastroenterology - is calling for greater use of pioneering techniques to pick up early signs of the disease in a bid to improve outcomes and survival rates. Less invasive and cost effective techniques such as the novel Cytosponge, which once swallowed mops up cells for molecular analysis, can highlight early cell changes associated with oesophageal cancer. “As the Cytosponge is non-invasive and the test results objective and accurate, we hope that it will lead to more widespread diagnosis, enabling doctors to intervene earlier before oesophageal cancer advances” explains UEG spokesperson and lead researcher, Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, who helped to develop the test. One of the primary risk factors in oesophageal cancer is severe long-standing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and UEG is encouraging patients to have a better understanding of the condition in order to improve earlier detection of complications. “GORD, which occurs when acid from the stomach travels up into the oesophagus, can lead to serious complications, including pre-malignant changes called Barrett’s oesophagus, which is why we are keen to promote early diagnosis and better understanding of GORD” explains Professor Fitzgerald. UEG will be supporting this year’s World Digestive Health Day on May 29, 2015, with the theme focusing on raising greater awareness of GORD.  View an educational animation video discussing heartburn and GORD 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. 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. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN · 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. Visit www.ueg.eu About Cytosponge Led by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald from the University of Cambridge, the Cytosponge trial – called BEST-2 – is looking at the accuracy of this ‘sponge on a string’, which aims to help doctors diagnose oesophageal cancer at an early stage. The Cytosponge trial has now recruited over 1000 patients from Centres across the country,About Cytosponge The results of the trial, winner of UEG’s Research Prize for innovation, indicate that not only is the Cytosponge preferred by patients over other methods, but crucially, that it is as accurate in diagnosis (and more cost effective) than endoscopy. About World Digestive Health Day WDHD is a World Gastroenterology Organisation initiative held on May 29th every year. Find out more about our support for World Digestive Health Day About Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald Prof. Fitzgerald is a member of the UEG Scientific Committee and a consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambidge, UK For further information and interviews, please contact:         Luke Paskins: media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 References 1.     Stephen E Roberts, David G Samuel, John G Williams, Kymberley Thorne, Sian Morrison-Rees, Ann John, Ashley Akbari, Judy C Williams – United European Gastroenterology, Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe, August 2014 2.     Fitzgerald RC. UEG Journal 2015. First published 13 March 2015.

Success of colorectal cancer screening programmes may be pushing endoscopy services to breaking point.

(May 12, 2015) Successful implementation of pan-European colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programmes may be pushing endoscopy services to the limit, according to experts from United European Gastroenterology (UEG).

Greater public awareness of the benefits of CRC screening and roll-out of the faecal immunochemical screening test (FIT) are predicted to boost screening uptake across Europe, leading to a significantly increased need for trained endoscopists to cope with the expanding workload. According to Professor Thierry Ponchon from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France, and a member of UEG’s CRC Task Group, pre-empting the increased manpower requirement will be essential to delivering safe and effective endoscopic services. “We know that CRC screening saves lives,” he said. “But better uptake of screening opportunities will lead to more referrals for endoscopic procedures, and plans must be in place now to cope with the increased workload.” Colorectal cancer screening programmes are now firmly established in many European countries, with faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) and sigmoidoscopy the primary screening modalities in most regions. Randomized, controlled trials have shown that annual or biennial guaiac-based FOBT (gFOBT) is associated with a 15­–33% reduction in CRC mortality, however, multiple expert groups have called for the FIT to replace the gFOBT because of its improved performance and ease of use. A recent pilot study in the UK involving more than 1 million people compared uptake rates between the FIT and the gFOBT and reported almost double the uptake with FIT than with gFOBT amongst previous screening non-responders and encouraging increases in participation from first-time invitees. “The FIT is easier for people to use and usually requires only one stool sample and it is now recommended in European guidelines for CRC screening,” explained Prof. Ponchon. “However, we know from studies conducted in the Netherlands that introduction of FIT-based screening programmes is likely to require at least a 15% increase in endoscopy capacity, and we are concerned that this may not be achievable without better planning.” Endoscopy services in Europe: where are we now? The UEG Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe identifies significant variation in the current provision of endoscopy services and capacity across the continent, with many countries still relying solely on physicians to deliver screening services and few countries making endoscopy a national policy priority. Trained nurse endoscopists can provide vital support to meet the growing demand for endoscopic procedures as part of CRC screening, with a recent US study demonstrating that, in a supervised setting, nurse endoscopists can perform colonoscopies according to quality and safety standards that are comparable to those of physician endoscopists – and ­at a greatly reduced cost. Prof. Ponchon urges health service providers “to look closely at their anticipated endoscopy resource, start training more physicians and nurses now to meet the increasing endoscopy demands, and make sure we save as many lives as possible in the coming years.” UEG is working closely with the European Society of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Nurses and Associates (ESGENA) (http://www.esgena.org) and the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) (http://www.esge.com) to promote and support endoscopy training for nurses and other healthcare professionals. The organisation is also helping to fund the Quality in Endoscopy educational programme during 2015. For more information, please visit: https://www.ueg.eu/education/training-support/. References 1. Zavoral M, Suchanek S, Zavada F, et al. World J Gastroenterol 2009;15:5907-15. 2. Riemann JF. Dig Dis 2011;29(Suppl 1):53-55. 3. Mandel JS, Bond JH, Church TR, et al. N Engl J Med 1993;328:1365-71. 4. Hewitson P, Glasziou P, Watson E, et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2008;103:1541-49. 5. Cancer Research UK. http://www.cruk.cam.ac.uk/news/latest-news/major-increase-bowel-cancer-screening-uptake-shown-new-screening-test 6. European Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Working Group, von Karsa L, Patnick J, et al. Endoscopy 2013;45(1):51–9. 7. van Turenhout ST, Terhaar sive Droste JS, Meijer GA, et al. BMC Cancer 2012;12:46. 8. Farthing M, Roberts SE, Samuel DG, et al. UEG Journal 2014;2(2):539­-43. 9. Massl R, van Putten PG, Steyerberg EW, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;12(3):470-7. 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. 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. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN · 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 To find out more about UEG’s work, visit ueg.eu 

Press contact    

Luke Paskins:

media@ueg.eu

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

@UEGMedia

 

Delayed diagnosis of coeliac disease may put lives at risk: is screening the solution?

(April 23, 2015) Coeliac disease is one of the most common life-long conditions in Europe, yet many people remain undiagnosed and lengthy diagnostic delays may be putting lives at risk.

Today, doctors are being urged to consider testing for Coeliac disease in anyone showing signs and symptoms of the condition and to consider screening everyone in high-risk groups. A paper published in this month’s special Coeliac disease (CD) issue of the UEG Journal (https://www.ueg.eu/journal/) assessed the viability of screening for CD in the general population and concluded that screening of first-degree relatives of people with CD, people with type 1 diabetes, iron-deficiency anaemia, Down’s syndrome and other high-risk groups may be appropriate. “This important research highlights the value of serological testing for CD in anyone with symptoms that might be due to the condition and in all asymptomatic individuals from high-risk groups,” says Professor Antonio Gasbarrini from the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy. “It is vital that we now start to take positive action across Europe to tackle this prevalent condition and reduce its serious health consequences.” A diagnosis of CD is usually made based on the presence of antibodies to gluten in the blood in addition to biopsy evidence of inflammation in the small intestine. However, the availability of sensitive and specific blood tests for markers of CD has raised the possibility of population-wide screening for CD in an effort to ensure earlier diagnosis and treatment of the condition. “Coeliac disease is readily treated with a gluten-free diet, so it is unacceptable that people suffer its symptoms for many years before they are properly diagnosed” says Professor Gasbarrini. “We now have blood screening tests that are simple, safe and accurate, and it is time we started using them effectively to limit the damage caused by this common condition.” Coeliac disease is a genetically-determined, autoimmune condition caused by a permanent intolerance to gluten found in wheat, barley and rye. The condition causes inflammation in the small intestine, leading to diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue and other non-specific symptoms. It has been estimated that around 1% of the population may have CD, although estimates vary between countries, and the prevalence of CD appears to be increasing. If left undiagnosed and untreated, CD can have a profound effect on quality of life, may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes, and has been associated with a reduced life-expectancy. “Unfortunately, because the symptoms of CD are often vague and similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome, many people with CD are undiagnosed and many who are diagnosed will have waited 10 years or more for their diagnosis to be confirmed,” says Prof. Gasbarrini. “At best, only around one-quarter of all CD sufferers are likely to have been diagnosed by a physician, leaving large numbers of people still at risk.” 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. 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. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN · 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. Visit www.ueg.eu

Press contact    

Luke Paskins:

media@ueg.eu

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

References

1.     Ludvigsson JF, Card TR, Kaukinen K, et al. UEG Journal 2015;3(2):106-120.

2.     Ludvigsson JF, Bai JC, Biagi F, et al. Gut 2013; 62:43-52.

3.     Norström F, Lindholm L, Sandström O, et al. BMC Gastroenterol 2011;11:118.

4.     Khashan AS, Henriksen TB, Mortensen PB, et al. Hum Reprod 2010;25(2):528-34.

5.     Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, et al. Gastroenterology 2009;137(1):88-93.

6.     Mustalahti K, Catassi C, Reunanen A, et al. Ann Med 2010;42:587-95.

 

Incidence of colorectal cancer increasing in young people: family doctors urged to be on the alert for alarm symptoms

(March 24, 2015) United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is calling for primary care physicians to be more alert to the symptoms of colorectal cancer (CRC) in young people, as worrying evidence emerges of a growing risk of CRC in the under 50s.

A study conducted in the USA has recently reported ‘unsettling’ evidence that, while the incidence of CRC is declining in the over 50s, more people aged 20 to 49 years are being diagnosed with the condition. Speaking on behalf of UEG, Professor Roger Jones, Emeritus Professor of General Practice at King’s College, London, and member of UEGs CRC Task Force, called for greater awareness of the symptoms of CRC in young people in primary care in order to speed up referrals and save lives. “CRC is becoming more of a young person’s disease,” he says. “Primary care physicians must play their role in identifying high-risk individuals for screening and promptly evaluating any young person presenting with suspicious symptoms.” CRC in young people Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Europe. Although most cases of CRC are still diagnosed in the elderly, more than 1 in 10 cases occurs in people less than 50 years of age. Studies have found that young-onset CRC is more aggressive, more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and more likely to be fatal than CRC diagnosed later in life. The results of this latest study suggest that the risk of young people developing CRC is increasing at an alarming rate. “We don’t really know why the incidence of CRC appears to be increasing in young people, although it may be related to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, a deteriorating diet, and increasing rates of obesity and diabetes – all of which are risk factors for CRC,” says Prof. Jones. “Around 20% of young people diagnosed with CRC have a strong family history of the condition, and these people should enter national screening programmes well before the age of 50 years.” Alarm signals in primary care According to Prof. Jones, primary care physicians should be focussing their efforts on identifying high-risk young people for screening and spotting the signs of CRC as early as possible. Persistent rectal bleeding, blood in the stools, abdominal pain and bloating, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss may all point to the presence of CRC and should prompt a swift referral for specialist assessment. Anyone with either one close relative diagnosed with CRC under 50 years of age or with two close relatives who were aged 60 or older at diagnosis should be considered high risk, as should anyone with inflammatory bowel disease or genetic conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome. “Screening is an effective way of preventing bowel cancer in high-risk individuals, but there is an inconsistent approach to this across Europe,” says Prof. Jones. “Some gastroenterologists are recommending that people at the highest risk of developing bowel cancer should have colonoscopies at 1- to 5-year intervals from as young as 25 years. Those at moderate to high risk should be seen every 5 years between 50 and 75 years of age.” UEG would like to see a more consistent approach to the screening of high-risk young people across Europe. It is marking European Colorectal Cancer Awareness month by highlighting the work of EuropaColon’s ‘Young Voices Unite Against CRC’ (http://yvu.europacolon.com/), which supports young people who have been diagnosed with CRC. 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. 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. Visit www.ueg.eu To download the CRC in young adults across Europe infographic, please click here. 

Press contact    

Justin Wilkes:

media@ueg.eu

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

@UEGMedia

 

References 1. Bailey CE, Hu CY, You YN, et al. JAMA Surg 2015;150(1):17-22. 2. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al. Eur J Cancer 2013;49:1374-1403. 3. Ahnen DJ, Wade SW, Jones WF, et al. Mayo Clin Proc 2014;89(2):216-224. 4. Lieu CH, Renfro LA, de Gramot A, et al. J Clin Oncol 2014;32(27):2975-84.

Vice President of UEG to advise European Commission on medical research policies.

(Vienna, March 12, 2015) The Scientific Panel for Health was recently constituted to assume its official role of advising the European Commission on medical research policy.

Among the members of this newly created body is the Vice President of United European Gastroenterology (UEG), Professor Michael Manns. He accepted his nomination by the European Commission to contribute his expertise in the field of digestive and liver health. The Scientific Panel for Health was established by the European Commission to provide scientific guidance for research and innovation in health under the current funding programme of the European Union, ‘Horizon 2020’. Its task is to identify obstacles to medical innovation, recommend research priorities, and propose strategies for their effective implementation. The Panel’s 27 members comprise distinguished researchers from different medical disciplines and stakeholder communities who have displayed expertise in health research and innovation. The nomination of Professor Manns is testament to the importance of digestive and liver diseases as a growing public health concern that affects an increasing number of EU citizens. “Gastrointestinal disorders are a major threat to public health and are responsible for almost 500,000 deaths per year in Europe alone. The political priorities we take today will directly affect citizens across Europe for years to come. It is important for medical research policies to respond to such threats, and the Scientific Panel for Health will be important in helping EU decision makers shape policies that are conducive to innovative research”, says Professor Manns. Professor Michael Manns is Vice President of UEG and heads the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology at the Medical School of Hannover, Germany. He has a longstanding interest in viral and autoimmune liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma and gastrointestinal oncology. His experience in health innovation includes founding a national viral hepatitis network for Germany and he has been a spokesperson for German research initiatives in hepatology and transplantation. Click here for further information on the Scientific Panel for Health.  Notes to Editors: References 1. 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. August 2014. 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. UEG is a member of the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe, a consortium of 21 societies promoting the interests and value of research throughout all medical disciplines in Europe. Find out more about UEG’s work, visit www.ueg.eu. Contact Information UEG Media Office +44 1444 811099 media@ueg.eu UEG Public Affairs (Brussels) Office +32 (0)2 5027771 publicaffairs@ueg.eu

Advanced screening test to improve European colorectal cancer survival rates.

<h3>(Vienna, March 2, 2015) Colorectal cancer is the most common type of GI cancer in Europe, with 342,137 new cases recorded in the EU in 2012. It accounts for about half of all gastrointestinal malignancies in Europe and the annual incidence is predicted to rise by 12% by 2020.</h3>  As early detection results in a 90-95% survival rate, United European Gastroenterology (UEG), is urging all European men and women over 50 to ‘Step Up, Take the Test’ and undertake screening for colorectal cancer. In support of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March), UEG also calls upon all EU countries to evaluate advanced screening techniques, such as a simple faecal immunological test, to help increase uptake and survival rates. Faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) is more advanced than the traditional three sample stool test, guaiac-based faecal occult blood tests (gFOBTs). It requires just a single stool sample to check for the presence of blood, a possible indicator of adenomas or CRC and with an easy collection device, it has been found to increase participation uptake. More importantly, FIT offers substantial clinical benefits due to its superior analytical technique. The gFOBT method relies on simple oxidation which can be adversely affected by the influence of dietary haemoglobin. However, the FIT technique is more sensitive. Specific analysis for haemoglobin detects smaller levels of bleeding and therefore more early cancers as well as more adenomas. The number of false positives is also reduced as there is unlikely to be significant interference from dietary haemoglobin found in faeces. If an adverse result is detected, patients are then referred for a colonoscopy. FIT’s simple collection system and enhanced sensitivity offers an attractive alternative to existing gFOBT stool tests as a first-line screening procedure. It will also make it easier for Europeans at risk to get screened and ensure colorectal cancer gets detected as early as possible, enabling thousands to receive successful treatment,” explains UEG CRC screening expert Dr. Monique van Leerdam, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Colorectal cancer is treatable when detected early, yet it is estimated to claim the lives of over 500 Europeans every day. According to the recent Survey of Digestive Health across Europe, although CRC screening programmes are now well established in most European countries, many programmes are still not population based and participation rates vary widely. Rates for colorectal cancer screening programmes vary from as little as 15% in areas of Poland and just 22% in Belgium to a healthier rate of 64% in Norway and 70% in Finland.  However, uptake generally throughout Europe remains alarmingly low, with the percentage of eligible adults screened in many countries falling way short of the 65% rate considered desirable by the European Commission and already achieved in the USA. #screeningsaveslives Notes to Editors: To download a map of CRC Incidence & Mortality in Europe, please follow this link: https://www.ueg.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Press/CRC_Incidence_Map.pdf To download an infographic about CRC screening please follow this link: https://www.ueg.eu/press/crceurope/ Available for interview The following members of the UEG CRC screening ‘Task Group’ are available for interview: 
  • Thierry Ponchon – Department de Hepato-gastroenterologie, Herriot University Hospital, FRANCE
  • Evelien Dekker - Agaplesion Markus Hospital, Frankfurt, GERMANY
  • Monique van Leerdam - NETHERLANDS Cancer Institute
  • Nurdan Tozun - Acibadem University Hospital, Istanbul, TURKEY
  • Roger Jones - Dept. of General Practice, Kings College London UK
Press contact Justin Wilkes media@ueg.eu Tel:+44(0)1444811099 @UEGMedia About UEG 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. Find out more about UEG’s work at www.ueg.eu  References 1. 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. 2. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 3. Mosen DM, Liles EG, Feldstein AC, et al. Participant uptake of the fecal immunochemical test decreases with the two-sample regimen compared with one-sample FIT. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2014 Nov; 23(6): 516–523 4. Allison JE, Fraser CG, Halloran SP, Young GP. Population screening for colorectal cancer means getting FIT: The past, the present and future of colorectal cancer screening using the fecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT) 5. Overall USA screening rate, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 2010

Make your call for gastrointestinal and liver disease research funding before EU budget cuts.

(Vienna, February 13, 2015) With recent plans to cut billions from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funding programme, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is urgently calling on the GI community to apply now for much needed research funding.

 According to the results of UEG’s major ‘Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe', gastrointestinal (GI) and liver diseases remain one of the most common causes of death and hospitalisation in Europe and are responsible for almost 500,000 deaths per year in Europe alone. “Although GI and liver diseases are on the increase and draining European healthcare resources, gastroenterology gets relatively little attention from a policy perspective compared with other specialities. However, research is essential to facilitate the development of more effective treatments and to improve mortality rates,” explains Professor Farthing.
Horizon 2020 is the European Union's biggest ever research programme with nearly 80 billion of overall funding available from 2014 to 2020. In spite of the EU Commission's proposal to cut billions from Horizon 2020's €24 billion scientific research programme, a healthy €154,000,000 is still available specifically for research grants on the topic of 'FET-Open- Novel ideas for radically new technologies'. “However, the deadline is looming with a call for proposals by 31st March 2015 so scientists need to take prompt action to develop steering groups and submit their application,” urges UEG President, Professor Michael Farthing.
“Gastrointestinal disorders remain a major threat to public health and it is important for medical research policies to respond to such threats;” adds Professor Michael Manns, UEG Vice President. To maximise the chance of a successful application, UEG advises scientists to consider the following 3 key points before submitting their proposal:
Commission’s priorities - does their work fit within the EU Commission's guidelines?
Organisation’s capabilities - can their organisation realistically manage and deliver the proposal? Economical and social impact - will their work provide return on investment and reduce the economic and social burden?
Further information and guidelines on the application process can be found at: www.ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/funding. Notes to Editors: Available for interview Professor Michael Farthing, UEG President; Professor Michael Manns, UEG Vice President Press contact Samantha Forster media@ueg.eu Tel:+44(0)1444811099 @UEGMedia Further information for Horizon 2020 Funding Applications is available at: General Information and Funding Opportunities - Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation - Horizon 2020 How to get Funding - Horizon 2020 About UEG 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. Find out more about UEG's work at www.ueg.eu UEG Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe The Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe was commissioned by UEG in the spring of 2013 at the request of its own Future Trends Committee. An experienced research group from Swansea University in Wales, UK, initiated a detailed assessment of digestive health across Europe, focussing on the clinical and economic burden of disease and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across 28 European Union (EU) member states, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Russia. The aim of the survey was to draw together all the available evidence and provide up-to-date information on the human health consequences and public health burden of GI disorders. References 1. 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. 2. Anderson P, Dalziel K, Davies E et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part two: The economic impact and burden of gastrointestinal diseases across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014.

Eating less salt may reduce the risk of stomach cancer: UEG calls for greater salt-awareness across Europe.

(Vienna January, 12, 2015) Stomach cancer is diagnosed in around 80,000 people in the European Union (EU) each year and is associated with a very poor prognosis. The most well-established risk factor for stomach cancer is infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes inflammation within the stomach that can progress to stomach cancer.

Now scientists believe that eating too much salt also increases the risk of stomach cancer, with a direct relationship found between salt consumption and cancer risk. According to Professor John Atherton, UEG Secretary General and a leading H. pylori expert, the combination of H. pylori infection and a high salt intake appears to be especially dangerous. “Although we don’t know exactly why salt increases the risk of stomach cancer, studies suggest that it may encourage the growth of H. pylori and make it more toxic to the cells of the stomach,” he says. Stomach cancer in the EU The recent Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe reported that more than 80,000 new cases of stomach cancer were identified in the EU in 2012, with twice as many men as women affected. H. pylori infection, which typically occurs during childhood and is difficult to detect, has been estimated to be responsible for around three-quarters of all stomach cancers. Excessive salt consumption is thought to contribute to a quarter of all cases. “Most of us know that salt is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Prof. Atherton. “However, I suspect very few people are aware that a high-salt diet may also increase the risk of stomach cancer.” Salt consumption guidelines The European Commission and many individual European countries have taken positive action towards reducing salt consumption across the continent. Current guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that no more than 5 g of salt (less than 1 teaspoon) should be eaten per day – a challenging target given that most salt in our diets is not added by us, but comes from processed foods such as bread, cheese, breakfast cereals and ready meals. “In the UK, our salt target for adults is no more than 6 g per day, which should theoretically reduce the risk of stomach cancer as well as other salt-related health problems,” says Prof. Atherton. “Although we need more studies to confirm that eating a low-salt diet reduces the incidence of stomach cancer, there is preliminary evidence from Japan to suggest this would be the case.” It is straightforward to reduce salt in your diet: take special care when shopping to, buy low-salt versions of your favourite foods; moderate your intake of some foods such as cured meat, bread, cheese and table sauces; and to add no salt during cooking or at the table. This will reduce your risk of a variety of diseases, particularly heart disease and stroke and it now looks as though it will also reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer. References: 1. WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. http://eu-cancer.iarc.fr/. 2. D’Elia L, Rossi G, Ippolito R, et al. Clin Nutr 2012;31(4):489–98. 3. 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. August 2014. 4. Parkin DM. Br J Cancer 2011;105:S31–S33. 5. Tominaga S, Kuroishi T. Int J Cancer 1997;10(Suppl):2–6. 6. World Action on Salt & Health. Salt and stomach cancer. Available at: http://www.worldactiononsalt.com/salthealth/factsheets/stomach/index.html. Last accessed 5 January 2015. 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 about UEG’s work, visit www.ueg.eu Available for interview UEG Spokesperson, Professor John Atherton is the UEG Secretary General and also a leading H. pylori expert at The University of Nottingham. Press contact Samantha Forster media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia

Study: 1 in 10 Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients are misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

(Vienna December, 15, 2014) A new study, published in the latest issue of the UEG Journal reveals that 10% of IBD patients are misdiagnosed with IBS and in 3% of cases the misdiagnosis can persist for five or more years. The case-controlled study, conducted in the UK, assessed the proportion of patients with IBS recorded prior to the IBD diagnosis to reveal the alarming statistics.

Leading IBD researcher and United European Gastroenterology (UEG) spokesperson Dr Michael Scharl says, “IBS has been estimated to affect at least 10% of the population in Europe and it causes distressing symptoms that disrupt normal life.” He explains, “We have known for some time that there are similarities between symptoms of IBS and IBD, but when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, this differs greatly.” He adds, “Misdiagnosis is understandable as many symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramping and pain are common to both and the specific alarm symptoms for IBD such as bloody stool, weight loss or fever are often absent in IBD patients in the initial phase of their disease. However, increased use of faecal calprotectin testing would help doctors distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and non-inflammatory bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome.” IBS has been estimated to affect at least 10 of the population in Europe. The initial misdiagnosis of IBD has serious consequences for patients, in particular those with Crohn's disease, since delays in diagnosis is correlated with an increased risk of bowel stenosis and CD-related intestinal surgery. Considering that the misdiagnosis of IBD might have severe consequences for a patient’s life, UEG are calling for increased efforts to be undertaken to screen symptomatic IBS patients for IBD. Screening tests for intestinal inflammation should be included in the work up of all new patients presenting with diarrhoea and pain. References: 1. Timothy R Card, Jesse Siffledeen and Kate M Fleming. Are IBD patients more likely to have a prior diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome? Report of a case-control study in the General Practice Research Database. 2: 505-512, UEG Journal December 2014. Available at: http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/2/6/505.full 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 about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu Available for interview UEG Spokesperson, Dr Michael Scharl is an expert in both IBS and IBD and has recently been awarded a ‘UEG Rising Star’ award for his research which opens avenues for completely new treatment strategies for IBD and Crohn’s disease. Press contact Samantha Forster media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia
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