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Gastroenterology

MedStar Health Research Institute is dedicated to promoting and expanding the science of gastroenterology through clinical and basic research. Our researchers examine a wide variety of diseases that affect or are affected by the digestive system, and participate in several investigator-initiated research programs and commercially sponsored clinical trials each year. The following research topics are examples of the types of research programs MedStar investigators participate in or lead.

  • Colonoscopy Research - MHRI researchers participate in wide range of studies related to colonoscopy - from new sedation techniques that improve improve safety, comfort and recovery times, to the evaluation and effectiveness of new devices, and statistical analysis of applied force and torque measurements that occur in real time during colonoscopy procedures.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is chronic and frequently disabling inflammatory disorder of the intestines that affects more than one million Americans. Some of the ongoing studies at MedStar Health explore genetic factors associated with IBD. Specifically, we are interested in identifying the genetic, environment and socio-economical components that contribute to the development of IBD in underserved and minority populations.

  • Chronic Hepatitis C - Chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of the leading known causes of liver disease in the United States. More than 4 million people are believed to be infected with HCV in the United States, where it is a common cause of cirrhosis and primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). It is also the most common reason for liver transplantation. Hepatitis C virus has 11 major genotypes (designated 1 to 11) based on the genomic sequence heterogeneity. Genotypes 1a and 1b are the most common in the United States, accounting for about 60% of infections worldwide. Determining the genotype is important, as this predicts response to antiviral treatment. Genotype 1 is generally associated with a poor response to peginterferon and ribavirin which is the current recommended treatment for chronic hepatitis C; whereas genotypes 2 and 3 are associated with favorable responses. Owing to the low efficacy and adverse effects of this antiviral treatment, several clinical trials are being conducted to improve efficacy, safety, and prevent relapse after completing treatment.

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