New insights into pancreatitis

International research collaborations have looked at improving treatment for Acute Pancreatitis and run a cost analysis on major pancreatic cancer surgery.

Acute Pancreatitis (AP) is one of the most common diseases around the world. Associated with a considerable risk of morbidity and even death in patients who suffer a severe form of the disease, to date there is no specific treatment for it.

Now international AP experts have published a roadmap in the journal Gut (BMJ) pinpointing the two most significant thresholds in the disease that could serve as a starting point for targeting treatment strategies for this painful condition. The authors highlight the possibility of more than one risk factor (e.g. alcohol, gallstones, hypertriglyceridemia, drugs, etc) working in a complementary manner to trigger an episode of AP.

These findings validate the significance of the previously described first threshold – the point when the damage to the acinar cells of the pancreas is sufficient to trigger the infamous inflammatory cascade (Barreto and Saccone, 2010) – while highlighting the importance of a second threshold, namely the point when a person develops clinical symptoms of the disease sufficient to warrant going to hospital.

“This transcontinental collaboration of pancreatologists drew on their vast clinical and research experience spanning decades investigating the pathophysiology and treatments for AP – one of the most common causes for emergency presentations all over the world,” says corresponding author Dr Stephen Pandol MD, from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in California.

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