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Focusing on gastroenterology
This year’s Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG) Winter Meeting will take place in Fitzpatrick’s Hotel, Killiney, Co Dublin, on 24 and 25 November. The meeting will comprise local research in gastroenterology, awards and top international and national speakers who will discuss varied issues relating to the speciality, ranging from colorectal screening to biologic therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
“We try to mix international with local expertise,” ISG President Prof Padraic MacMathuna told the Medical Independent (MI). “There are quite a lot of local speakers involved. Another innovation this year is the incorporation of video presentations, which are now used at many international meetings. The idea is that the various medical units around the country will send in either video clips of surgical or endoscopic cases of interest.”
Proceedings will begin with a satellite meeting, sponsored by AbbVie, where Prof Simon Travis from the University of Oxford, UK, will speak about ‘Real-world evidence of biologic use in ulcerative colitis and the role of patient self-management systems in IBD’.
Prof Travis was Global Chief Investigator of eight clinical trials of therapy for IBD, including a first-in-class small molecule for ulcerative colitis, stem cell transplantation for Crohn’s disease, anti-CD3 MAb for ulcerative colitis, post-operative prevention studies and devices (an adsorbent compound AST-120). As senior author on the first trial of an anti-IL17A MAb, he was the first to report that this exacerbated Crohn’s disease, in contrast to its therapeutic benefit in psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, and that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the TLA1 gene might, in contrast, be associated with therapeutic benefit.
Later in the day, a session will be held on ‘Colorectal cancer: early detection and screening’. Prof Ian Tomlinson, who is Professor of Molecular and Population Genetics at the University of Oxford, UK, will speak about ‘Personalised colorectal cancer screening: Translating progress in cancer genetics’.
One major project led by Prof Tomlinson focuses on the gene POLD3, in which a common germline polymorphism affects susceptibility to bowel cancer. Prof Tomlinson’s group will also ask whether there is an optimum intermediate level of POLD3 activity to protect against cancer, and investigate why the POLD3 polymorphism seems only to affect the risk of bowel cancer.
Prof Helen Fenlon, Consultant Radiologist, Mater Hospital, Dublin, a pioneer in the area, will also speak about the role of CT colonography in screening during the two-day meeting. CT colonography is a minimally-invasive structural examination of the colon and rectum designed to evaluate the colon for colorectal polyps and neoplasms. The goal of this examination is to establish the presence or absence of colorectal neoplasia by producing a diagnostic-quality study at the lowest feasible radiation dose.
The last major talk on the first day of the meeting will be delivered by Prof Mark Silverberg, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada, who will speak about ‘Biologic therapies in IBD — optimal current use and future promise’. In 2009, Mount Sinai investigators led by Prof Silverberg discovered five new regions in the genome associated with susceptibility to IBD in children and youths that could lead to new therapies.
On Friday, 25 November, the day will begin with another satellite meeting sponsored by Tillotts, in which Dr Ian Arnott, Consultant Gastroenterologist in Spire Edinburgh Hospitals, UK, will speak about ‘IBD audit of quality and safety of treatment in IBD patients’. Dr Arnott is the Scottish lead of the RCP/BSG audit, so his views of the data gathered promise to be interesting.
A session later in the morning will be devoted to endoscopy with Dr James East, Consultant Gastroenterologist in Nutfield Health, Oxford, UK, speaking about ‘Serrated lesions: Significance, detection, resection and follow-up’. Dr East recently wrote a literature review on the topic in the journal Gut, which stated that while colonoscopy offers the best detection tool for serrated polyps, the detection rates are variable.
Offering an Irish perspective, Dr Chris Steele, HSE National Clinical Lead for Endoscopy, and Prof Stephen Patchett, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Bon Secours Hospital/ Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, will discuss the national plan for GI endoscopy.
“There are long wait times for endoscopy currently,” according to Prof MacMathuna.
“It is really not acceptable for people to be waiting for many months for their scope tests. That depends on what part of the country you live in and, secondly, if you have or don’t have private health insurance. The logistics of trying to develop good-quality endoscopy services, regardless of where you live, is a national challenge and it is one of the priorities for the Department of Health and the HSE.”
There will also be a session on rectal cancer surgery at the meeting, which will comprise two presentations: one delivered by Mr Roel Hompes, Consultant Surgeon at the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the other by Prof Des Winter, Consultant Surgeon in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin.
The final major presentation of the meeting will be delivered by Dr Derek Power, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Cork University Hospital, on the topic of ‘The impact of body composition on cancer outcome’.
“This is an important meeting for the medical community both north and south of the border who are interested in gastrointestinal diseases and we are very much looking forward to it,” Prof MacMathuna concluded.
There will be full exclusive coverage of the ISG Winter Meeting in MI.