Report on the 7th SciCom Workshop at ECCO'19

Sebastian Zeissig, SciCom Member

Sebastian Zeissig2Sebastian Zeissig

Mechanisms and therapeutic modulation of mucosal healing in IBD 

We saw one of the best-ever attended SciCom Workshops this year, with exciting talks and highly interactive discussions around the topic of mucosal healing in IBD. In two sessions, the mechanisms of intestinal regeneration and its disruption in IBD and novel approaches to the clinical assessment and therapeutic modulation of mucosal healing were discussed.


In the first part of the workshop, Shomron Ben-Horin highlighted the importance of tight control and treat-to-target approaches in achieving mucosal healing in the treatment of IBD, demonstrating favourable long-term outcomes, including reduced rates of hospitalisation, surgery and disability in patients who achieve mucosal healing compared to those who do not.

Thu 092Ryuichi Okamoto at ECCO'19 © ECCO

In a series of subsequent talks, Sebastian Zeissig, Michael Scharl and Tom Holvoet addressed the roles of the intestinal epithelium, the mucosal immune system and the extracellular matrix, respectively, in intestinal inflammation, regeneration and tissue remodelling. In the first talk, Sebastian Zeissig discussed the mechanisms underlying barrier dysfunction in IBD and provided an overview of the clinical relevance of barrier dysfunction and its contribution to diarrhoea and mucosal inflammation.

Moving from the epithelium to professional immune cells, Michael Scharl highlighted the complex roles of mucosal immunity in IBD and elegantly described how mucosal immune cells – depending on the cellular context and the molecular pathways involved – can either contribute to intestinal inflammation and damage or actively promote epithelial regeneration. Research in past decades has tended to focus on the mucosal immune system in the pathogenesis of IBD, and other elements such as the extracellular matrix have received less attention.

However, recent exciting work has revealed central roles of the extracellular matrix in intestinal inflammation and regeneration, which was the topic of a fascinating talk by Tom Holvoet that closed the first part of the workshop.

Thu 0917th SciCom Workshop 2019 © ECCO

The second part of the workshop focussed on the clinical assessment and therapeutic modulation of intestinal regeneration. In the opening talk, Ryuichi Okamoto invited the audience to an exciting translational journey on the development of intestinal epithelial organoids as novel therapeutic tools for autologous cell-based support for mucosal healing – from bench studies which established the conditions required for organoid growth ex vivo through to the first in-human trial using organoids for the treatment of mucosal lesions in IBD.

In the second talk, Maximilian Waldner highlighted how molecular endoscopy based on high-resolution imaging, fluorescently labelled biologicals and label-free imaging can provide novel insights into disease pathogenesis and help to steer clinical decision-making through patient stratification. Finally, in the closing talk of the workshop, Florian Rieder highlighted examples of successful therapeutic modulation of tissue regeneration and remodelling in other fields such as liver and lung fibrosis and discussed how this knowledge may be applied to develop novel approaches to the treatment of intestinal fibrosis in CD. 

We would like to thank the speakers for excellent presentations and the many participating clinicians and basic scientists for highly interactive discussions, all of which contributed to an extremely successful workshop.

Thu 0937th SciCom Workshop 2019 © ECCO

Posted in ECCO News, SciCom, Committee News, Congress News, ECCO'19, Volume 14, Issue 1