Collaborating with the IBD Team
The physicians in BIDMC's Center for Inflammatory Disease welcome your referrals. Our expert team is happy to see your patient for a one-time second opinion. Or, if you feel it would be best for your patient, we can also manage or co-manage your patient to help them achieve and maintain a normal lifestyle by mitigating their symptoms using the best personalized treatment options.
Referring a Patient
Whether your patient with IBD is seeking a one-time second opinion, or you are interested in co-managing these complicated conditions, or wish for us to become your patient's primary gastroenterologist, we can tailor our practice model to meet your care preferences.
- Call 617-754-8888 to refer
- Urgent visits and routine visits available
We recognize the importance of open and ongoing communication, and make it a point to be easily accessible. We are committed to sharing test results, diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and other pertinent information with you and your patients as quickly as possible.
Our Team Approach
In addition to collaborating with you, our world renowned gastroenterologists work with a multidisciplinary team of experts to diagnose and prescribe the most effective course of treatment. As a world-class medical center, we have a strong network of in-house colleagues and collaborators such as:
- Colorectal surgeons specializing in minimally invasive approaches to treating IBD
- Endoscopy specialists offering advanced techniques to diagnose, monitor and treat IBD
- Radiologists and pathologists expert in diagnosing and monitoring for dysplasia
- Dermatologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating IBD-related skin disorders
- Rheumatologist to care for patients affected by IBD-related joint issues
- Hepatologists specializing in liver diseases that can affect patients with IBD
- Pharmacists to support medication management and prescription compliance
- Nurses who specialize in IBD, as well as infusion services, and tailored care for patients with ostomies
- Nutritionists to assess overall nutrition and manage nutrition delivered intravenously
- Behavioral health professionals
Adam S. Cheifetz, MD, is the director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at BIDMC and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. As an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of IBD, he is involved in multiple IBD research projects, lectures nationally and internationally, and has published more than 175 articles on the subject. Dr. Cheifetz's research focuses on the use of therapeutic drug monitoring to improve the short and long-term effectiveness of biologic therapies for patients with IBD. He and his colleagues have helped to define and improve quality of care through their successful efforts to develop treatment methods that increase the effectiveness of available medications, while decreasing side effects. Through these and other breakthroughs, Dr. Cheifetz's group has shown that this treatment method reduces IBD-related hospitalizations and surgeries.
Our IBD researchers are working to change the standard of IBD care internationally:
Proactive Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
Pioneering improved medical management techniques to optimize IBD treatment, Dr. Cheifetz's team was the first to demonstrate that proactive monitoring of infliximab concentrations and dosing to a therapeutic window improves outcomes when compared to standard of care. This paradigm-shifting work is internationally recognized and has been shown not only to improve the effectiveness of IBD medications, but to reduce the need for IBD-related hospitalizations and surgeries, and reduce negative reactions to infusion medications.
Konstantinos Papamichail, MD, PhD is internationally recognized for his innovative research in the field of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of biologic therapy in IBD. As a recipient of the very prestigious Fellowship Grant from the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO), he performed pioneer studies to investigate the role of TDM of anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy during the induction phase in patients with IBD. One of the most important finding of his research was the identification of clinically relevant infliximab and adalimumab concentration thresholds during induction therapy associated with early mucosal healing in patients with ulcerative colitis allowing physicians to early optimize anti-TNF therapy towards better patient care. He is also well known for his novel research on the role of proactive TDM of anti-TNF-therapy in IBD showing that proactive TDM is associated with better therapeutic outcomes compared to empiric treatment optimization and/or reactive TDM. Dr. Papamichail was one of the leading members in a Consensus Meeting and the first author of a collaborative paper, published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, of the Building Research in IBD Globally (BRIDGe) group on how to better apply TDM in clinical practice. Based on this publication the BRIDGe Biologic Therapy Optimizer was developed (https://www.bridgeibd.com/optimizer) to help providers improve the efficacy and safety of biologic therapy and better treat IBD patients. He is also a founding member of the intErnational Consortium of Therapeutic dRUg Monitoring (spECTRUM). This is a consortium with global perspectives including TDM specialists from all over the world aiming to determine the utility of TDM in clinical practice towards tailored personalized treatment of patients. Dr. Papamichail is invited to lecture both nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards and distinctions. He is the author of more than 100 publications with a Google Scholar h-index of 28 and was recently elected as a member of the Scientific Committee of ECCO.
Pregnancy and Infertility
Dr. Cheifetz's team, in a collaborative effort, was the first to show that in vitro fertilization (IVF) was as successful in women with ulcerative colitis and ileal pouch anal anastomosis when compared to ulcerative colitis and the general infertile population. In addition, his research was the first to demonstrate that IVF was as successful in patients with IBD as in women from the general infertility population.
Reducing the Need for Surgery
Research conducted by the BIDMC team, under the leadership of Adam Cheifetz, MD, has demonstrated effective alternatives to surgery to treat Crohn's disease in some patients. His team's research showed that, contrary to popular belief, anti-TNF can be safely and effectively used in select Crohn's patients with intraabdominal phlegmons and abscesses. Based on this study and the studies that followed, this approach is now widely practiced internationally whereas previously surgery was standard of care.
Dr. Efi Kokkotou specializes in developing tools and methodologies to study the molecular determinants of disease variability among patients with IBD that can also affect their responses to available treatments. The ultimate goal of her research is to help match the "right" treatment to the "right" person. For that purpose, her team is using the patient's own intestinal biopsy material to test various drugs in the lab and find which one might be more effective for the individual patient. Though still at an experimental stage, this approach holds great promise in the future for guiding personalized therapies in IBD and recently Dr. Kokkotou and BIDMC have been awarded a U.S. patent for this therapeutic response predictor assay-TheRPA. Given the still sub-optimal rates of therapeutic responses even with the newest medications for IBD, there is an unmet need to come up with new drugs that are more effective and with fewer side effects. Using the TheRPA technology and patient-derived samples, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Kokkotou's lab participates to the pre-clinical evaluation of several candidate drugs every year with emphasis on existing drugs that can be repurposed for the treatment of IBD in the foreseeable future.
Basic Science Research
Dr. Maria Serena Longhi's research aims at defining how immune responses are regulated in chronic inflammatory statuses and in autoimmune disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune hepatitis. Dr. Longhi's research program includes the following areas of interest:
- Interactions between purinergic, hydrocarbon and oxygen mediated pathways in inflammatory bowel disease
- Regulation of AhR signaling in autoimmune hepatitis
- Post-transcriptional regulation of CD39 in inflammatory bowel disease