1) IBD: Creating Awareness and the Race for the Best Drug Therapy
The hot topic of the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) conference this year has been inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. An abundance of lecture sessions have focused on the topic, including one funded by the Cochrane Collaboration! Many manufacturers, including AbbVie and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, are also promoting their drug therapies all over the exhibition hall. In fact, AbbVie has funded an art exhibit featuring paintings by patients with IBD allowing them to express what it is like living with IBD. These paintings ranged from a person screaming in agony to a calming colorful picture of a park bench. On the other hand, Takeda Pharmaceuticals hosted a product theatre presentation promoting their new drug, vedolizumab, which was submitted for FDA approval in June 2013. Keep on the lookout: the word inflammation continues to be everywhere during DDW 2014.
2) Glue Therapy: Off-Label Use for Esophageal and Gastric Varices
Although not FDA approved for the treatment of GI varices, physician speakers at DDW discussed the possibility of injecting glue, or cyanoacrylate, to stop bleeding from both esophageal and gastric varices. While incorrect injections can further bleeding and needles have the potential to get stuck and clot, the physicians highlighted that glue therapy reduces the risk of recurrence in the long term. This is a problem with traditional methods like sclerotherapy and band ligation, which are only effective in the immediate short-term. Glue therapy is also noted to be inexpensive; a factor that remains a forefront consideration when making treatment decisions. A standardization of technique that is easy for endoscopists to follow should help to aid greater use of glue therapy in the future.
3) Colonoscopy: The Perennial Classic Topic
Colonoscopy remains a recurring topic in gastroenterology despite being the gold standard to screen for colorectal cancer. This is because of continuing research on the benefits of using advanced imaging technologies, the emergence of fecal immunochemical testing (FIT), and the outstanding need to prove colonoscopy's value?especially given the shift towards a bundled payment reimbursement model in the US as opposed to the current fee-for-service model. Another area of discussion is the positive evidence we?ve heard from thought leaders that water exchange can be superior to air insufflation during a colonoscopy due to reduced patient discomfort and a lower likelihood for colonoscope looping.
Stay tuned! We will continue blogging about our top 3 favorite booths in our next post!