Research in Gastroenterology


The BIDMC Division of Gastroenterology and the Digestive Disease Center are nationally recognized for contributions to the future of digestive disease. Our investigators and their teams are engaged in a variety of research, ranging from inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and pancreatic cancer therapies, to improving the management of diverticulitis abscess disease and fine-tuning biological and probiotic therapies.

BIDMC gastroenterologists work closely with colleagues in surgery and radiology, leading national and international trials to improve GI care. For example, Richard Farrell, MD, and Mark Peppercorn, MD, discovered that pre-medicating patients receiving Remicade® with hydrocortisone reduces antibody levels. And this is now an accepted protocol nationwide to improve safety and treatment response.

Other recent research highlights include:

  • Innovative diagnostic tests for liver cancer and liver fibrosis (Nezam H. Afdhal, M.D., Detlef Schuppan, MD, PhD)
  • Therapeutic trials with anti-viral agents for HBV and HCV, featuring the first U.S. trials of polymerase and protease inhibitors (Nezam H. Afdhal, MD, and Liver Center investigators)
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors as promising treatment agents in pancreatic cancer (Sareh Parangi, MD)
  • Novel therapeutic strategies to break through chemoresistance and disable anti-apoptotic mechanisms in pancreatic cancer cells (Mark Callery, MD)
  • Identifying protective immunity against Clostridium difficile, the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in hospital patients, to accelerate vaccine development and other novel treatments (Ciarán P. Kelly, MD)
  • Multi-drug resistance (MDR) genes and steroid resistance in patients with ulcerative colitis (Richard J. Farrell, MD)
  • New radiation therapy techniques and protocols in digestive-related cancer therapy (Keith Stuart, MD)
  • Virtual colonoscopy (CT and MR colonography), including the national American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) trial evaluating CT colonography as a potential colorectal cancer screening test (Martina Morrin, MD)
  • Diagnosing dysplasia affecting Barrett's esophagus and chronic colitis (Harvey Goldman, MD, and Donald Antonioli, MD)