GI Research Foundation in the News
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.
A Closer Look: Research Processes at the University of Chicago Medicine Featuring Michael Charlton, MBBS
““Perhaps our greatest strength in basic science research is with the microbiome [e.g., the bacteria that live in the gut]. We helped develop an animal model for liver disease that become one of the most widely utilized in the world, as it recreates lipid diseases in mice. That enables us, in the lab, to study causes of the liver disease and also ways to prevent and reverse it. In particular, Dr. Eugene Chang’s work with the Duchossois Family Institute [at the University of Chicago Medicine], discovered that mice that don’t have any microbes, animals that have been bred to be germ-free, and live in germ-free facilities, are totally resistant to fatty liver disease.”
On Thursday, December 2nd, more than one hundred GIRF supporters joined the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center online for the second presentation of Moving the Needle: An Update on GIRF’s Impact. Eight esteemed physician scientists shared latest research updates informing the treatment and care of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver disease, colon cancer, celiac disease, as well as the impact of the gut microbiome on depression and anxiety.
Faculty Profile: Michael Charlton, MBBS, Treatment of Liver Disease and Liver Transplant at University of Chicago Medicine
“I also have the happy experience of patients who say, ‘I saw Dr. John Fung, and he saved my sister’s life. We’d been told nothing could be done.’ I recently treated a patient with bile duct cancer who had been told his cancer was inoperable, and he came here and it was taken care of. With Dr. Rubin, we recently had a patient who failed multiple therapies for Crohn’s disease, and Dr. Rubin simply said, ‘We’ll get you into remission.’ He wasn’t just bragging; he did it.”
Different risk factors, including the type of sutures used to create the pouch, BMI, patient’s sex, prior C. difficile infection, and prior use of anti-TNF medications, all predicted different types of pouchitis.
2021 GIRF Scholar Tina Rodriguez Update: Investigating Inflammation, IBD and Mental Health Disorders
Research suggests inflammation itself may influence a patient’s development of mental health disorders. In this way, treating inflammation could have benefits for a person’s mental state.
IBD Updates: New Medications and COVID-19 Vaccine Updates with Russell D. Cohen, MD, and David T. Rubin, MD
“For many years, we had just a few treatments, which we had to give to everyone… with the help of research, [we are hoping to] identify the predominant inflammatory pathway for each patient, and then choose the best agent, customized for that patient…”
Other Recent News
Inflammation is a key concern for people living with many different digestive diseases and other health concerns. Walnuts, turmeric, flaxseeds, green tea, broccoli sprouts, fatty fish, olive oil, among many, many, others, are all touted by different research studies (of varying rigor) as having anti-inflammatory properties.
Research Spotlight: How Do We Assess Cancer Risk, and Prevent Cancer, and Improve Mortality? Featuring Sonia Kupfer, MD
Explains Kupfer, “Number one, we want to understand better how some of these chemopreventive agents are working. For example, there is good clinical-trials data that aspirin prevents colon cancer, specifically in Lynch syndrome. Now, we can look at how it works, and target those pathways. Secondly, we can determine who may respond best to which therapy, or who may have more response, and use that information to build more robust treatments. That’s the big vision here. But it’s early days right now.”
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.
GeoMX Digital Spatial Profiler “Like being inside a tissue sample at a molecular level” Maps the...
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.
Will the GI Research Foundation have safety measures in place? The GI Research Foundation will...
On Saturday, June 4th, 2022, the GI Research Foundation will host their Champions for a Cure Ball...