Current Opinion in Gastroenterolgy was launched in 1985. It is one of a successful series of review journals whose unique format is designed to provide a systematic and critical assessment of the literature as presented in the many primary journals. The field of gastroenterolgy is divided into 12 sections that are reviewed once a year. Each section is assigned a Section Editor, a leading authority in the area, who identifies the most important topics at that time. Here we are pleased to introduce the Journal’s Section Editors for this issue.
Chung Owyang, MD
Professor Owyang is currently Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also holds the H. Marvin Pollard Chair in Gastroenterology. He received his M.D. degree from McGill University and completed his postgraduate training at the Mayo Clinic, USA. In 1979 he joined the medical faculty at the University of Michigan where currently he holds numerous committee and administrative appointments. He serves as Director of the Marvin Pollard Institute for Medical Research, Director of the Gastrointestinal Physiology Laboratory and is a member of numerous prestigious national and international organizations. He was a member of the National Institute of Health Study Section, the Federal Drug Advisory Board (FDA) and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He has also served on the Council of the American Gastroenterological Association and chaired the International Committee. He is the current President of the American Motility Society.
Professor Owyang’s work has focused on the molecular mechanisms of information processing in the enteric nervous system. His research has provided important insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of human disease states which has had important physiological and clinical implications, particularly in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis and irritable bowel syndrome. His most recent studies include the purification and characterization of the role of CCK-releasing peptide in health and in chronic pancreatitis. In addition, his laboratory is also doing studies to investigate the circuitry of the enteric nervous system in different regions of the GI tract and determine the mechanism of information processing. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in clinical research, Professor Owyang received the prestigious Joseph B. Kirsner Award in Gastroenterology and was inducted as an honorary member of the Royal College of Physicians, Thailand.
Professor Owyang takes pride in the over 25 fellows he has trained, many of whom are now important contributors in the field of gastroenterology. Professor Owyang authored more than 250 publications and co-authored with Professor Tadataka Yamada the new Textbook of Gastroenterology which is considered by many to be the best in its field.
William R. Brugge, MD
Dr. Brugge enjoys reviewing the literature each month and selecting interesting new topics for reviews. Since he directs a large academic endoscopy center, it is relatively easy to witness frequent developments in procedures and approaches to challenges in endoscopy. He performs ERCP, EUS, and routine endoscopy on a regular basis, and teaches routine endoscopy to GI fellows and therapeutic endoscopy to advanced endoscopy fellows. The combination of personal experience with the challenges offered by patients in his practice and instruction in endoscopy provides him with daily exposure to important topics in endoscopy. The ideal topics for review are those based on large prospective trials of a new procedure. However, in endoscopy, the progress that is made by single investigators working diligently on unique procedures or techniques must also be noted.
In addition to working closely with endoscopists in his unit, Dr. Brugge works with research physicians who devote their time and energy in an animal laboratory, where there is greater freedom to refine a new technique or apply an old one for a unique indication; for example, they have recently looked at the possibility of using photodynamic therapy to ablate solid organs, such as the pancreas. This type of research is an example of adapting an established technique and applying it to a new organ or tumor. Dr. Brugge and the other physicians have selected pancreatic ablation as an important new field for endoscopy because there is such a great need for non-invasive therapy of pancreatic malignancies. Before studying photodynamic therapy, they had also demonstrated the ability of radiofrequency ablation to safely destroy normal pancreatic tissue. Although these techniques have not been used in patients with pancreatic malignancy, it will only be a matter of time before investigators organize these types of trials. Endoscopic ethanol ablation is another technique that might have potential for tissue ablation in the pancreas and other solid organs. This injection technique seems ideally suited for the ablation of cystic lesions, and in a recent trial, Dr. Brugge and his team demonstrated the safety and ease of performing EUS-guided lavage of pancreatic cystic neoplasms. A large multi-center trial is currently being organized.
One of the benefits of working in this new field is the opportunity to work closely with physicians from all over the world. Nearly all endoscopists are very open to discussion and demonstrations of new techniques. The free exchange of ideas is critical to the development of endoscopy as a discipline. Dr. Brugge thoroughly enjoys visiting other hospitals and observing the performance of difficult procedures. Along similar lines, he welcomes outside physicians to visit his unit and discuss its new techniques. He believes working closely with dedicated endoscopists is a very rewarding experience and often creates a lasting bond between physicians. Well-designed, live endoscopy courses often stimulate a lot of thought and creativity between observers and endoscopists.
The recording and display of video clip endoscopy will greatly aid the dissemination of knowledge and training in endoscopy. The display of short, focused video clips during talks and lectures has improved the quality of lectures and demonstrations. In Dr. Brugge’s unit, he and his team have established digital video recording in about half of the procedure rooms. The recording of key events during a procedure and the presentation at conferences has been an exciting development in his hospital. In the near future, availability of these recordings on the Internet will be widespread. Comprehensive digital video libraries on the Internet will be an important resource for training, research, and education by endoscopists, particularly if the video clips are viewable and downloadable by endoscopists throughout the world.
These are exciting times for the field of endoscopy. There is an explosion in the development of procedures, techniques, and endoscopic therapies for a wide range of gastrointestinal problems. In the past, it may have been a challenge to select four to five topics in endoscopy for in-depth reviews on a regular basis. With a large number of academic endoscopy centers in the US and in the world dedicated to the performance of advanced procedures, there are many potential reviewers and topics. Dr. Brugge wishes you to enjoy the review articles chosen for you in this issue. Please feel free to contact him and suggest topics for future issues.