Inaugural Lecture by TCD Professor of Medicine Prof Colm Ó Moráin: Can Gastrointestinal Cancer be prevented?
Feb 01, 2008
“Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract place a huge burden on the health economy. One third of all hospital admissions have a gastrointestinal complaint”, stated TCD Professor of Medicine, Professor Colm Ó Moráin based at the
“Gastroenterology covers a wide range of diseases from benign to malignant and the variety and complexity of the diseases involved diffuse the focus of gastroenterologists compared to other specialists where only one organ is involved,” continued Professor Ó Moráin. “
“The cost of treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in
“There is no definite treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the cause remains unknown. Special diets that give the bowel a chance to rest and recover have been found to be successful, but its efficiency is limited as this form of diet is not very palatable. However, these special diets have given clues as to the possible cause of the disease. There have been significant gains in terms of treatment due to modern technology in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs (monoclonal antibodies) based on a strategy of blocking specific proteins involved in inflammation. We have been involved in all of the pivotal studies to show that these drugs have a benefit for the patient. However, not all patients respond to this treatment and there is still a need to find better treatment”.
“Studies carried out in AMNCH in conjunction with St. James’s Hospital were the first to conclusively prove that Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria only found in the stomach, is the cause of duodenal ulcer. Getting rid of the bacteria cures the ulcer. Before this discovery in 1987 patients needed lifelong treatment with drugs or major surgery”.
“More recently this bacteria is listed as a Class I Carcinogen by the World Health Organisation. This has led to further collaboration with countries such as
“We have also been involved in all the pivotal clinical trials that improved the treatment of this condition. There are limitations to treatment due to antibiotic resistance. We are studying at a molecular level how the bacteria develops antibiotic resistance and are constantly evaluating new antibiotics to improve treatment”.
“Lessons learned from gastric cancer prevention can be applied to colon cancer.
“Cancer can shed blood into the bowel without the patient being aware. If the test is positive the patient requires a colonoscopy to be performed by skilled personnel. The aim of this screening is to find cancer at an early stage. We have been involved in preliminary studies to validate this approach in AMNCH at Tallaght. At a laboratory level we are looking at the changes which occur at the benign and malignant stage of colon cancer. Cancer prevention is a major stakeholder in the
Extracts from a presentation given by Professor of Medicine, Professor Colm Ó Moráin on the occasion of his inaugural lecture Chair of Medicine at TCD on 30 January 2008.
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