ECCO Country Member Profiles: Russian Federation
Name of group: Russian Gastroenterological Association
Number of active members: 120-150
Number of meetings per year: 10-12
Name of president and secretary: Vladimir Ivashkin and Alexander Trukhmanov
National Representatives: Yury Uspensky and Pavel Makarchuk
Joined ECCO in: 2007
Incidence of IBD in the country: 6.6 per 100,000
What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?
It is evident that the major advantage of being an ECCO Country Member for the Russian Federation is integration into the European community of IBD experts. The leading expert opinion, as a consequence, is rapidly adopted by the National Society. In particular, current Russian clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of IBD are based on the ECCO Guidelines.
In addition, the membership of Russia in ECCO has profoundly influenced the education of physicians and nurses. We are now widely implementing the experience of our European colleagues when teaching young doctors. We think that it is essential for gastroenterologists in Russia to have continuous guidance from such a trusted source as ECCO.
What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?
Thanks to ECCO Country Membership, we are able to accumulate the unique experience of IBD specialists from across Europe. Sharing of emerging innovations in IBD diagnosis and treatment will contribute to better health care delivery for patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in Russia.
Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?
Yes, the national IBD treatment guidelines elaborated in 2017 by the Russian Gastroenterological Association are essentially based on the ECCO Guidelines. We presume that it is especially important to implement international expertise when treating such vulnerable patient categories as pregnant women with IBD and persons with extraintestinal (i.e. dermatological and rheumatological) IBD manifestations.
Have you developed links with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
Yes, we have.
- Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
We have established a research project on the role of the intestinal microbiome in IBD mechanisms with Manimozhiyan Arumugam, a colleague from Denmark. He is Associate Professor in the Section for Metabolic Genetics, University of Copenhagen. We believe that ECCO provides a unique platform for scientific interaction for researchers from different countries.
- Have you developed educational activities with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
We have just submitted an application to ECCO to organise an ECCO Educational Workshop in 2022 in St. Petersburg. We hope that this initiative will be supported by ECCO. Such an international workshop is expected to be a great event for IBD gastroenterologists and other specialists from Russia. To date, the educational activity has been limited to adoption of the ECCO Congress content and distribution of the ECCO Treatment Guidelines.
- Has your country been involved in a fellow exchange through ECCO?
Thus far, the Russian Federation has not been involved in the fellow exchange programme but we would be very keen to take advantage of this opportunity through ECCO.
What are your main areas of research interest?
Several research projects are currently being run by the national IBD Community. First, we are investigating the oral manifestations of IBD, particularly linked to periodontal health. Second, we are studying the diagnostic value of extended magnetic resonance enterography in allowing visualisation of the proximal colon for the purpose of differentiating various forms of Crohn’s Disease. Third, the issue of the interaction between IBD and obesity is one of the main focuses of IBD research in Russia. One more project is addressing the role of the microbiome in IBD pathogenesis and the possibility of using faecal transplant therapy for IBD.
Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or bio bank?
At present, there is no centralised IBD database/bio bank in Russia. However, we realise the critical role of such infrastructure in developing the field of IBD at both the national and the international level.
What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?
We are currently implementing several interesting projects. One project is focused on the evaluation of the economic burden of IBD in Russia, using the data on IBD prevalence and the costs of pharmacological therapy. In addition, patient flow issues are under active investigation. We are striving to develop new specialised IBD centers in large Russian cities. Another project deals with the training of qualified IBD-oriented personnel (nurses, physicians, surgeons).
Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group currently involved in?
We attend the annual ECCO Congress. Our members regularly submit abstracts for the ECCO Congress with both poster and oral presentations. We would also like to organise an ECCO Educational Workshop in St. Petersburg in 2022.
What are your aims for the future?
Our plans for the near future include optimisation of IBD patient rehabilitation after surgical treatment, aiming at maximal prolongation of remission. We are also planning participation in randomised clinical trials (phases II–III) of new drug treatments in IBD, including biological therapy. One of our major interests is basic research in the IBD field. We have a modern, brand new animal facility for housing SPF rodents, which is contributing to better reproducibility of the data and is strengthening the translational potential of our results. In particular, the microbiome-related mechanisms are to be studied, as well as cytokine signalling.
How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?
In our opinion, the most valuable contribution from ECCO is to provide the methodological support. Our main goal is that all members of the national team become aware of the current best practices in IBD treatment. Our national community can only benefit from the ECCO Dedication and Spirit.
What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress? How do you use the things/services that ECCO has to offer?
The interaction between the Russian National Society and ECCO is currently in its infancy. However, we have developed an ambitious roadmap for cooperation, which includes common research projects, educational activities and congresses. To conclude, we look forward to developing further contacts between ECCO and the Russian IBD Community.
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