The National Institutes of Health today announced the release of the first long-range plan for tackling digestive diseases, which affect as many as 70 million Americans each year.
Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases describes the impact of diseases ranging from foodborne infections to cancer and liver failure, and maps out priorities for research over the next 10 years. The report is online at: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/AboutNIDDK/CommitteesAndWorkingGroups/NCDD/FinalResearchPlanPosting.htm.
"NIH-funded research has led to tremendous discoveries in peptic ulcer disease, viral hepatitis, and colorectal cancer. To build on these advances and break new ground, we'll be looking for investigator-initiated projects and developing new initiatives that respond to the commission's recommendations," said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the NIH. "Of course, bringing in new investigators and utilizing NIH's peer review system to identify projects with high scientific merit will continue to be high priorities."
The report emphasizes the importance of cross-cutting research, encouraging multidisciplinary efforts to advance understanding of causes and improve diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases. The high-impact goals recommended by the commission include:
The diseases cost the United States $100 billion in direct medical costs every year. Prescription drugs for diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. For more information about digestive diseases, see www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov.
It was against the backdrop of human suffering and health care costs that the former NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni established the commission in 2005. He charged the commission with reviewing current and needed research on digestive diseases. The report identifies recent research advances and new and emerging opportunities for future study.
The 16 appointed members of the commission represent academic and medical research, health care professionals and patient-advocacy groups. The commission also included 18 nonvoting ex officio members from the NIH and other federal agencies conducting digestive diseases research. For more information about the commission, see http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/AboutNIDDK/CommitteesAndWorkingGroups/NCDD.htm.
"The commission's recommendations provide a guidepost for digestive diseases research to be addressed over the next decade," said commission chair Stephen P. James, M.D., who also directs NIDDK's Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. "We hope that this broad-based research plan leads to new findings that help reduce the pain and suffering experienced by the millions who suffer from digestive diseases."
|Contact: Leslie Curtis|
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases