Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Presents National Science Awards to Clinical and Scientific Thought-Leaders in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Three clinical and scientific thought-leaders in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research were awarded the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's prestigious Annual National Science Awards at its 2009 Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Clinical & Research Conference (http://www.advancesinibd.com/) in Hollywood, Florida on December 4th.

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New York, NY (Vocus) December 18, 2009

Three clinical and scientific thought-leaders in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research were awarded the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's prestigious Annual National Science Awards at its 2009 Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Clinical & Research Conference (http://www.advancesinibd.com/) in Hollywood, Florida on December 4th. Despite the tough economic times, the conference was attended by over 1,000 physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health care professionals, a 12 percent increase in attendance over last year. Hailing from cutting-edge medical institutions around the country, the award recipients, nominated by the Foundation's National Scientific Advisory Committee (NSAC), all exemplify unparalleled dedication to the Foundation's mission of a future free from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, painful and at times, debilitating digestive diseases that affect over 1.4 million Americans.

The Henry D. Janowitz, MD Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Burton I. Korelitz, MD, past chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City for his career-long dedication to the discovery and understanding of Crohn’s and colitis. For over 40 years, Dr. Korelitz has been dedicated to improving clinical care for IBD patients. His research efforts helped to establish key treatments for treating IBD such as 6-MP, azathioprine, and infliximab. In addition, his dedication and strong interest in complications of IBD as well as understanding dysplasia and cancer surveillance in colitis has made a life changing difference to countless patients and families.

The CCFA Scientific Achievement Award is presented to the outstanding clinician and basic researcher in IBD who has the courage, innovation, and vision as a leader in the scientific community. It was presented in two categories, clinical research and basic research.

Stephan R. Targan, MD, is the recipient of this year’s CCFA Scientific Achievement Award for Clinical Research. Dr. Targan serves as Director of the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute and the Division of Gastroenterology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Targan is Professor of Medicine the UCLA School of Medicine and is holder of the Feintech Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Cedars-Sinai. Board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and infectious disease, Dr. Targan has been awarded investigative grants from the NIH, CCFA, as well as research contracts with numerous industry sponsors. His research has primarily focused on the genetic and immunopathologic mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Targan has a long and stellar history with CCFA. Under his leadership as Chair of CCFA’s National Scientific Advisory Committee from 1989-1993, the Foundation developed its first “Challenges in IBD Research,” a consensus paper that created CCFA’s research strategic plan. This effort not only allowed CCFA to focus on its scientific endeavors, it also provided important tools to encourage Congress to increase funding to NIH for more IBD research. Dr. Targan has also served as Chair of CCFA’s Grants Council and on its Grant Review and Research Initiatives Committee.

Dr. Targan is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Gastroenterological Association, American Association of Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has written extensively for such peer-reviewed publications as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Immunology and Gastroenterology. Dr. Targan has also written numerous book chapters on the causes, effects and treatments of inflammatory bowel disease. He is the editor of the widely acclaimed textbook Inflammatory Bowel Disease: From Bench to Bedside.

The CCFA Scientific Achievement Award for Basic Research was presented to R. Balfour Sartor, MD. Dr. Sartor serves as the CCFA Chief Medical Advisor and the Midgette Distinguished Professor of Medicine in microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Dr. Sartor has been a faculty member at UNC for his entire academic career. His research interests focus on understanding the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and translating this basic science knowledge into improved diagnosis and treatment of IBD.

About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance and the American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit the CCFA web site at http://www.ccfa.org. Join CCFA on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/supportccfa/ and follow CCFA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ccfa.

About Advances in IBD, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Clinical & Research Conference

The Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Clinical & Research Conference has grown to become the foremost annual event for investigators and clinicians to come together, share their knowledge and experience, and learn about the latest advances and new insights for personalized care of patients with IBD.

The 2009 program included expanded sessions for nurses and pediatric specialists, as well as a new session on endoscopy advances in IBD. In addition to the ongoing discussion of the ideal positioning of biologic therapies in both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the conference covered new biologics in development and debated whether combining biologics or using as monotherapy is preferable for Crohn’s disease. Case-based breakout sessions provided a practical look at complicated clinical issues. Each year, the outstanding faculty is comprised of expert specialists, both the familiar and the new, including some of the top thought leaders from Europe. Visit http://www.advancesinibd.com for more information.

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