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.

UEG Week: Faecal microbiota transplantation now available in capsule form

(Barcelona, October 6, 2015) A new capsule form of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has raised hopes that this effective treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection and other bowel conditions might soon become mainstream.

A recently-reported study confirmed that capsules containing a frozen suspension of faecal material harvested from healthy unrelated donors was well tolerated and effectively resolved diarrhoea in 90% of patients with difficult-to-treat C. difficile infection. Professor Antonio Gasbarrini from the A. Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy, who will be presenting his research at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain later this month, believes that an oral formulation that simplifies FMT is a major step forward. “FMT is an excellent treatment for C. difficile infection, but traditional methods are time-consuming and technically challenging,” he says. “Advances in the preparation and delivery of FMT will lead to its wider acceptance as a safe and effective treatment for C. difficile infection that could supersede antibiotics.” C. difficile infection challenges C. difficile infection is a type of bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhoea, intestinal inflammation and cell death. The infection is spread via the ingestion of spores, which are passed out of the body in the faeces and can survive for many weeks or months. Standard therapy for C. difficile infection includes the use of antibiotics, however, around one-third of individuals will have a recurrent infection and many of these will have multiple recurrences. The consequences of recurrences of C. difficile infection can be severe, resulting in life-threatening illness and frequent hospitalisations. FMT in C. difficile infection FMT from a healthy donor to an individual with C. difficile infection can restore the healthy gut microbiota and resolve symptoms. FMT has traditionally been performed using a liquid suspension of faeces from a related donor, which is transplanted into the body using a nasogastric tube, endoscopy, enema or colonoscopy. A recent systematic review of the literature concluded that FMT was both effective and safe for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection, yet many hospitals have failed to embrace the technique or offer it as a potential treatment option. “We believe that FMT is an excellent therapeutic option for patients who have failed to respond to antibiotic treatments or who have severe or multiple recurrences,” said Prof. Gasbarrini. “Traditional routes of administration all have their drawbacks, so we are excited by the prospect of a capsule formulation.” In the recently-reported study of an FMT capsule, researchers in the US recruited 20 patients with C. difficile infection who had either failed to respond to antibiotic medications or had been hospitalized at least twice as a result of severe symptoms. The capsules were prepared using frozen liquid stool samples from carefully screened unrelated donors and administered to the patients on two consecutive days. After the first 2 days of treatment, 14 of the 20 patients (70%) experienced a resolution of their symptoms and remained symptom free for 8 weeks. After a second course of treatment, four of the remaining patients became symptom free, resulting in an overall 90% rate of symptom resolution. “Although larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, this study could certainly lead to more widespread use of FMT in the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection,” said Prof. Gasbarrini.  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. Press may register for UEG Week by following this link or calling the UEG Media Team on +44 (0)1444 811099 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.     Youngster I, et al. JAMA 2014;312(17):1772–78 2.     Cammarota G, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol 2014; 48(8):693–702.

UEG launch #FaceUp2CRC campaign to raise awareness of colorectal cancer

(Vienna, 15 September, 2015) Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common type of gastrointestinal cancer in Europe, with estimates of more than 300,000 new cases recorded in the EU every year. It accounts for approximately half of all GI malignancies in Europe, and the annual incidence is predicted to rise 12% by 2020.

Although most cases of CRC are diagnosed in the over 50’s, recent findings have also suggested that the risk of young people developing CRC is increasing at an alarming rate, highlighting the need for greater CRC awareness across all age groups. With early detection resulting in a 90-95% survival rate, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) has launched the ‘#FaceUp2CRC’ campaign and is calling for medical professionals to unite and create a movement to help raise awareness of CRC, encouraging members of the public to undertake screening. UEG is calling for medical professionals to share their ‘selfie’ and post this online with the hashtag #FaceUp2CRC. Supporters are invited to be as creative as they like and are encouraged to ‘face up’ to their camera whilst posting their message. UEG President Professor Michael Farthing explains “colorectal cancer is treatable when detected early, yet it claims the lives of hundreds of people across Europe every day. We hope that the GI community will come together to help us with this campaign to help raise awareness of CRC and improve screening uptake and survival rates across Europe”. Current rates for CRC 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 considerably short of the 65% rate considered desirable by the European commission. UEG will be promoting the campaign on Twitter, Thunderclap and throughout UEG Week Barcelona 2015. To find out more about UEG Week, please visit: https://www.ueg.eu/week/ #FaceUp2CRC 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.     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)

Women having a baby by IVF are at increased risk of suffering reflux disease after the birth

(Vienna, 10 August, 2015) Women who give birth to babies conceived by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) are at increased risk of experiencing long-term symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), according to the results of a study published in the UEG Journal. Researchers in Turkey compared two groups of women who had given birth to their first child at least 1 year earlier and found that those who had had IVF were three-times more likely to be diagnosed with GORD than those who had conceived naturally. No differences in GORD prevalence were reported between the women who had IVF and gave birth to single babies and those who gave birth to twins.

GORD and pregnancy

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition in which acid from the stomach travels up into the oesophagus and causes heartburn, regurgitation and pain when swallowing. The most common cause of GORD is a weakening of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) (the ring of muscle at the end of the oesophagus), allowing the stomach acid to leak up into the oesophagus and damage the lining. Pregnancy is a known risk factor for the development of GORD, affecting around half of all pregnant women. Pregnancy-related GORD is generally considered to be a temporary problem, although studies suggest that having reflux symptoms during pregnancy predisposes women to having further attacks.

IVF and GORD study

In the first study of its kind looking at the relative risk of GORD in women who conceive using IVF, 156 first-time mothers who had had twins (n=54) or single babies (n=102) at least 1 year earlier after IVF treatment were interviewed face-to-face to collect data on their pregnancies and any GORD symptoms experienced using a validated reflux questionnaire. A diagnosis of GORD was made if heartburn, regurgitation or both occurred at least once a week. Data from this group of women were then compared with an age-matched control group of women who had conceived naturally and had completed the same diagnostic questionnaire for GORD during another study. The prevalence of GORD at the time of data collection was found to be 13.5% in the group of women who had received IVF compared with just 4.5% in the group of women who had conceived naturally (p=0.015). In the IVF group, the prevalence of GORD was slightly higher in women who gave birth to twins (14.8%) compared with those who gave birth to single babies (12.7%), but the difference was not statistically significant. The reasons why women who have IVF might be more prone to developing GORD are not clear. The study authors propose a number of possibilities, including medications taken during IVF (e.g. high-dose progesterone and oestrogen) that relax the LOS, psychological causes associated with fertility issues (e.g. stress, depression and anxiety), and the possibility that women who undergo IVF may spend long periods of time lying down for fear of miscarriage.  “These are very interesting findings and UEG would welcome further research in this area to determine whether these results can be replicated in long-term, prospective studies,” said Dr. Oliver Pech, Head of Gastroenterology and Interventional Endoscopy at the St. John of God Hospital in Regensburg in Germany and Associate Editor of the UEG Journal. “If so, we really need to investigate how we might prevent the development of GORD in all pregnant women, but particularly in those who receive IVF treatment.” 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. Turan I, Kitapcioglu G, Goker ET, et al. In vitro fertilization-induced pregnancies predispose to gastroesophageal reflux disease. UEG Journal 2015. For the full UEG Journal article, please click here: http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/07/08/2050640615597836.abstract

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. 

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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
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