As a teenager, my brother began to suffer from what doctors then thought was ulcers as well. Blamed on diet and stress, his suffering went misdiagnosed and untreated for more than a decade. Finally, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. His disease was resistant to the new and evolving biologic treatments. His life and work suffered constant disruption. Eventually after hospitalizations, he would have surgery to remove part of his large intestine. After a six week stay in the hospital fighting sepsis and other complications, he would return home to begin another course of treatment for maintenance. This too would eventually fail. Another surgery resulted in an ostomy that has mostly eliminated his symptoms and given him his life back.
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Research Spotlight: Cambrian Liu, PhD, On Reprogramming Stem Cells to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Explained Dr. Liu, “Consider that a disease flare is like a forest fire, and the drugs we have in our arsenal are firefighters. What no drug does currently is focus on the restoration of the intestine after a flare.”
“In order to achieve our goal of reducing the burden of GI cancers, we practice and strive for early detection and personalized medicine. Personalized medicine moves away from one-size-fits-all approaches, and integrates knowledge about a person’s genetics, personal and family history, and environmental risk factors, to provide tailored care to the individual.”
“GIRF has, as it always has, kept its eyes on the bigger picture as we have worked to develop our largest endeavor ever: our regenerative medicine program. As mentioned briefly last year during this Ball, regenerative medicine is the study of how tissues develop and mature into different organs, and how tissue injury occurs and changes with age or disease can be repaired or replaced. The potential applications for such a program are incredibly exciting, and may include tissue healing in inflammatory bowel disease, and organ regeneration in intestinal, liver, or pancreas failure conditions. Ultimately, these discoveries will yield new insights and treatments for GI cancer as well.”
On Saturday, June 4, 2022, the GI Research Foundation Champions for a Cure Ball celebrated the courageous patients and devoted physician-scientists fighting to prevent, treat, and cure digestive diseases. Held at The Geraghty, a chic event space in Pilsen, the event marked the triumphant return to an in-person gala experience, and was a smash success – raising $1.5 million for research at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center.
GIRF in the News
Classic Chicago Magazine – Champions for A Cure : Saturday, June 4th, 2022 The GI Research Foundation Annual Ball
On January 14, 2022, David T. Rubin, MD, Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine, Co-Director of the UChicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center and GIRF Lead Scientific Advisor, shared insights on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on healthcare workers, the Omicron and future variants, the possibility of herd immunity, and planning for future pandemics on Steve Dale’s Other World on WGN Radio.