Digestive Diseases, On The Rise
Gastrointestinal symptoms are among the most frequent complaints that bring a patient into a clinic or hospital. Gastro-esophageal reflux and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, are often associated with severely impaired quality of life and complications, such as bleeding, obstruction, perforation, or even cancer formation. Hepatitis and liver cirrhosis also cause serious health problems that have life-altering and debilitating effects.
Cancers of the digestive tract, including the pancreas, colon, esophagus, stomach, and liver, are responsible for more than 120,000 deaths in the United States each year. In some ethnic populations, digestive tract malignancies represent more than 50 percent of all cancer deaths. Most of these deaths are preventable because these cancers are curable if diagnosed early.
Research Targets Faculty Publications
Early Diagnosis & Curative Treatment
The UW Division of Gastroenterology’s key purpose is to develop more accurate methods for early diagnosis and curative treatment of digestive diseases, including cancer and hepatitis. Our division supports a multi-disciplinary approach to cancer and hepatitis research, diagnosis and training. By bringing together outstanding physicians and scientists in a creative and supportive environment, we will allow specialists to spur groundbreaking advances and apply them to the clinical setting as quickly as possible. We will set a new standard for patient care, research and education by striving toward the following goals:
- Provide state-of-the-art research in and treatment for hepatitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and digestive cancers, including their precancerous forms. Developing innovative methods for early detection will allow us to cure more patients.
- Create multi-disciplinary teams of specialists to provide comphrehensive treatment for patients. Together, our specialists will assess risk and disease status, and choose appropriate therapeutic interventions.
- Inspire and encourage new, promising research ideas and foster the careers of junior medical scientists. Each year, we will select up to three awardees who will pursue novel, creative investigations in the areas of pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.
- Develop a caring, informative counseling program for family members of patients with digestive cancers and other diseases. The program will assess their risks of developing cancer or other digestive diseases, and advise them on appropriate diagnostic procedures and treatment options.
- Strengthen our training and outreach program so that the skills and knowledge gained at the UW Division of Gastroenterology are extended to physicians and researchers in the biomedical community.