Volume 1 Issue 1, November 2004



  • Viewpoint |

    Gallstone disease continues to be a significant problem. The recent identification of mouse genes may help determine susceptibility to the disease. An infectious etiology hypothesis has also been proposed to explain the development of gallstones. Could these discoveries lead to more effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of gallstones?

    • Sum Lee
  • Viewpoint |

    At present, there is no standard treatment for cholangiocarcinoma, a fatal cancer of the biliary tree. New therapies for cholangiocarcinoma are difficult to evaluate because treatment endpoints are ill-defined. This viewpoint explains why the current endpoints are problematic and proposes a new quantitative system for assessing disease progression.

    • Gregory J Gores
    • , Edwina S Baskin-Bey
    • , Todd H Baron
    •  & Steven R Alberts

Research Highlights

Practice Points


  • Review Article |

    The etiology and pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis remain unclear, but evidence is accumulating that both genetics and the environment are important. Although diagnosis remains based on well-established clinical, endoscopic and histologic criteria, recent advances in the detection of fecal and serologic markers and the use of wireless capsule endoscopy promise to aid diagnosis.

    • Stephen B Hanauer
  • Review Article |

    At present, there is no uniformly effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated disease. Tapering and pulsing antibiotics after a 10-day standard course can decrease the recurrence of disease, as can adjunct use of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii. Restoration of normal colonic flora might be another treatment option, and new treatment approaches being developed include a vaccine.

    • Christina M Surawicz
  • Review Article |

    Hepcidin is the iron-regulatory hormone that links innate immunity and iron metabolism. Normally, a regulatory feedback loop with circulatory iron controls hepatic hepcidin production. Inflammatory stimuli upregulate hepcidin production, which can lead to anemia. Anemia downregulates hepcidin production. Human disorders associated with inappropriate hepcidin levels include anemia of inflammation and hereditary hemochromatosis.

    • Antonello Pietrangelo
    •  & Christian Trautwein
  • Review Article |

    At present there is no cure for chronic pancreatitis—a progressive condition that culminates in the destruction of the pancreas. Recent advances in genetic and immunologic research have spawned new insights into the mechanisms underlying chronic pancreatitis, and new models are helping us understand associated risk factors and etiologies.

    • David C Whitcomb

Case Study

  • Case Study |

    This article highlights the case of a 74-year-old Caucasian female who presented with jaundice, clay-colored stools, diarrhea, and fatigue of 3 months' duration, accompanied by a weight loss of 6.8 kg. The results of initial investigations were interpreted as primary sclerosing cholangitis, but futher investigation revealed lytic and and blastic bone lesions. A sacral bone biopsy established the diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis.

    • Georgios I Papachristou
    • , Anthony J Demetris
    • , Fiona Craig
    • , Kenneth KW Lee
    •  & Mordechai Rabinovitz