Year in Review

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  • Vaccination is a key intervention for the elimination of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections to fulfil the WHO’s 2030 global elimination goal. Innovations in 2021 promise to curb HBV transmission by reducing mother-to-child transmission and enhancing vaccine immunogenicity in at-risk adult groups. Additionally, an HCV vaccination trial was conducted, and there were also advances in our understanding of the immunology underpinning the lack of protection against HCV reinfection.

    • Manal H. El-Sayed
    • Jordan J. Feld
    Year in Review
  • Important colorectal cancer (CRC) studies in 2021, including a new standard of care for first-line treatment of MSI-H–dMMR metastatic CRC, single-cell and spatial analysis of primary tumours and investigations of diet in preclinical models of cancer initiation, have provided novel insights into the CRC immune microenvironment.

    • Karuna Ganesh
    Year in Review
  • Important studies in 2021 demonstrated sophisticated developments in the study of liver fibrosis through omics. Cell-specific mapping, single-cell sequencing and deep-learning systems revealed complex intra-hepatic mechanisms and new computational platforms facilitating the research towards drug discovery in liver disease and in fibrosis.

    • Fiona Oakley
    Year in Review
  • 2021 has been a productive year for fungal research. Key studies focused on intestinal inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease highlight antibody-mediated immunity in control of fungal commensalism, commensal and dietary fungi in intestinal inflammation and wound healing, and the therapeutic potential of transgenic yeast engineered to sense and target factors during intestinal inflammation.

    • Iliyan D. Iliev
    Year in Review
  • Key studies published in 2021 demonstrated mechanisms that drive macrophage–fibroblast pathogenicity in Crohn’s disease, developed multi-omics profiles to predict response to biological therapy, and suggested potential complementary treatments and new therapeutic agents in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) therapy. These results represent important progress towards precision medicine for patients with IBD.

    • Ren Mao
    • Minhu Chen
    Year in Review
  • In 2021, transcriptome analysis of the mouse and human gut advanced our understanding of the cellular composition, development and surrounding non-neural context of the enteric nervous system (ENS). A role for the ENS in tuning regulatory T cell proportions contributed insights into the dependency between the ENS, immune system and microbiota.

    • Ulrika Marklund
    Year in Review
  • In 2021, our understanding of resistance to therapy in primary liver tumours improved drastically. By taking a holistic approach, three independent studies have characterized the tumour cell biodiversity across space, time and aetiologies in primary liver cancer, decoding the crosstalk between different cell types within the tumour ecosystem and their individual contributions to therapy resistance.

    • Chantal Desdouets
    • Amaia Lujambio
    Year in Review
  • In 2020, there have been substantial advances in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease mechanisms, diagnostics and treatment. Key developments include the identification of a cellular and tissue signature to provide new insights into pathophysiology, advancements in non-invasive diagnostics and publication of interim results of the first phase III trial to demonstrate improvement in hepatic fibrosis.

    • Manal F. Abdelmalek
    Year in Review
  • In 2020, important advances were made across three major frontiers of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) research: risk factors, therapeutic resistance and tumour recurrence. Pathophysiology of obesity-mediated PDAC initiation was elucidated, novel stromal mechanisms of therapeutic resistance were unveiled and the genetic evolution of recurrent PDAC under therapeutic pressures was tracked in human samples.

    • Tejeshwar Jain
    • Vikas Dudeja
    Year in Review
  • In 2020, combination treatments have pushed the efficacy of systemic therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to an unprecedented high, providing a solid base for the future pursuit of further improved, highly efficacious systemic therapies for HCC.

    • Ann-Lii Cheng
    Year in Review
  • In 2020, studies have used pure cultures of members of the gut microbiota to establish a molecular chain of causation for the role of these key bacteria in aggravating or alleviating cancer and metabolic diseases. These studies highlight the need for microbiome studies to move from associations back to cultures to demonstrate causality.

    • Liping Zhao
    • Naisi Zhao
    Year in Review
  • Key studies published in 2020 demonstrate that an impaired intestinal barrier precedes clinical diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by years. Furthermore, studies identify novel regulators of the intestinal barrier, including intestinal macrophages and diurnal variations of diet–microbiome interactions, which could be future therapeutic strategies for IBD.

    • Saurabh Mehandru
    • Jean-Frederic Colombel
    Year in Review
  • One of the most pleasurable, yet dangerous, activities of our daily life is eating. But once food has been swallowed, all we can do is to trust our gut. Several remarkable studies published in 2020 have expanded our knowledge on how the gut is intertwined with essential behaviours beyond food.

    • Diego V. Bohórquez
    Year in Review
  • In 2020, major advances to the understanding of gastrointestinal inflammatory and infectious disease have been made using ‘mini-gut’ organoids. Key findings include the discovery of somatic inflammatory gene mutations in ulcerative colitis epithelium, a unique mutational signature in colorectal cancer caused by genotoxic Escherichia coli, and infection of intestinal organoids by SARS-CoV-2.

    • Vivian S. W. Li
    Year in Review
  • The World Health Organization’s targets for hepatitis C elimination by 2030 are ambitious, but, in 2020, global leadership demonstrated by Egypt, innovative strategies to improve linkage to treatment for marginalized populations and the broadened capacity of direct-acting antiviral therapy have been promising for enhanced global elimination efforts.

    • Gregory J. Dore
    • Sahar Bajis
    Year in Review
  • Important studies published in 2020 highlight that coeliac disease is a systemic autoimmune-like disorder with the potential to result in serious long-term health consequences that might also occur outside the gastrointestinal tract. Ultimately, the results of these studies will enable the development of better strategies for the management of coeliac disease.

    • Katri Kaukinen
    Year in Review
  • In 2019, to help meet viral hepatitis targets from the WHO, studies have developed optimal strategies to enable transplantation of HCV-positive organs, assessed the real-world efficacy of salvage therapy for direct-acting antiviral therapy failures in chronic HCV infection and evaluated the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma with current first-line antiviral therapies for chronic HBV infection.

    • Jacinta A. Holmes
    • Raymond T. Chung
    Year in Review
  • Key studies published in 2019 highlight novel concepts regarding the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease: the emerging role of host–microorganism interactions and the regional microbiota as disease drivers, and the identification of new therapeutic targets. These findings suggest new avenues for research and define important hallmarks for clinical diagnosis and therapy.

    • Markus F. Neurath
    Year in Review
  • Key studies published in 2019 shed new light on how complex motor patterns emerge from the functional organization of circuits in the enteric nervous system and, in turn, how extrinsic afferent neurons and common commensal microorganisms interface with these circuits to modulate intestinal motility.

    • Meenakshi Rao
    Year in Review
  • In 2019, there have been substantial advances in our understanding of the gut microbiome. Key developments include an improved gut-on-a-chip system, a search for small proteins produced by the commensal gut microbiome and the publication of one of the most comprehensive multi-omic datasets for interrogating host–microorganism interactions in inflammatory bowel disease.

    • Suzanne Devkota
    Year in Review