Gastroenterology and Hepatology

All Articles in the Category ‘Gastroenterology and Hepatology’

Teduglutide and Transplants: Moving the Field of Pediatric Intestinal Rehabilitation Forward

The Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Seattle Children’s, the only program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, is dedicated to reducing transplantation rates through innovative research that improves intestinal failure management.

Seattle Children’s was one of the largest recruiters for the first 12-week trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of the investigational drug teduglutide for patients with long-term TPN dependence related to short bowel syndrome. Already approved for short bowel syndrome treatment in adults, teduglutide is designed to reduce the need for TPN.

“Teduglutide is the first drug to be introduced to the commercial market that has a sound theoretical basis, as well as supportive preclinical and adult clinical studies, to improve intestinal adaptation above and beyond what can be achieved with the best standard of care,” says Dr. Simon P. Horslen, director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and medical director of Solid Organ Transplantation at Seattle Children’s, and professor of pediatrics with UW Medicine. “Anything that has the potential to wean a child from TPN or even reduce the amount of TPN they receive will improve quality of life.”

Results from the initial 12-week trial were promising. Among 42 children ages 1 to 17, the treatment was associated with overall reductions in TPN, in some cases as significant as 41%. Four children were weaned from TPN entirely during the study.

Horslen and his co-investigator, Dr. Danielle Wendel, gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s and assistant professor at UW Medicine, are awaiting results from a recently completed 24-week study.

“Teduglutide is a huge step forward in the management of intestinal failure,” Horslen says. Read full post »

Uncovering the Genetic Roots of Pediatric Pancreatitis

Dr. Matthew Giefer’s pioneering research into the causes of early-onset pancreatitis has created new potential for diagnosing and treating the disorder in children.

Understanding the causes of pediatric pancreatitis – a condition many doctors may overlook when seeing children with abdominal issues – can lead to more timely and effective treatments.

It appears that genetics play a bigger role than previously thought, according to research conducted by Dr. Matthew Giefer, director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy at Seattle Children’s and assistant professor at UW Medicine, and an international team of physicians involved in the INSPPIRE (International Study group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In search for a cuRE) trial.

The team analyzed 342 children ages 0 to 18 diagnosed with either acute recurrent or chronic pancreatitis and found that family history and mutations on the PRSS1 or CTRC genes were the factors most strongly associated with early-onset pancreatitis. Surprisingly, 71% of children with this form of the disease had at least one gene mutation known to cause pancreatitis. Children with later onset pancreatitis, which generally develops after age 6, were less likely to have these genetic risk factors. Read full post »

Innovative Research Driving Change for Children With Hepatologic Challenges

At Seattle Children’s, the Pacific Northwest’s only dedicated pediatric hepatologists are actively engaged in research consortiums and working to improve treatments for pediatric liver diseases.

 Two of these physicians, Dr. Evelyn K. Hsu, program director of the Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s, and Dr. Karen F. Murray, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Seattle Children’s and vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics at UW Medicine, have spearheaded a number of innovative studies that have improved children’s access to lifesaving transplants and medications. Read full post »