Liver and Digestive Diseases - Presentation
The CIBEREHD, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en el Área temática de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas, is a Consortium with the purpose of promoting and safeguarding health by means of furthering research.
This work, whose scope includes both basic research and clinical and translational aspects, is based on the field of Liver and Digestive diseases, with the aim of innovating in the prevention of these diseases and promoting scientific and healthcare progress.
Relevance of liver and digestive diseases in Spain
Liver and digestive diseases are an area of special clinical and research relevance, due to the fact that these diseases are extremely commonplace in Spain and entail a very high social-economic cost. Cirrhosis thus represents the fifth cause of death in the adult and hepatic and digestive cancers are the most frequent. Over 3% of the Spanish population is chronically affected by the hepatitis C and B virus; 60% consume alcohol regularly (and 4% very excessively); and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is increasing, affecting over 20% of the population, in a context in which 36% are overweight and 13% obese.
Over the last 25 years this area of medicine has furthermore undergone spectacular clinical progress, such as the arrival of endoscopy and other imaging techniques which have revolutionised the diagnosis of digestive diseases. Some good examples of this are the discovery and characterisation of the hepatitis A, B, C, D and E virus, and of Helicobacter Pylori, as well as the development of the liver transplant as a treatment for irreversible hepatic diseases, with over one thousand of these a year taking place in Spain. As a whole, including the tumour pathology of these organs, they are the second cause of hospitalisation (representing 20% of hospital admittances at high level centres) and death in the adult population in the productive age, which is why their social repercussion is enormous.
Apart from all this, the very novel nature of this speciality has meant that clinical excellence is associated with a good level in research, with an increasingly notable international presence. Spanish Hepatology and Gastroenterology have become one of the areas of biomedicine in which our country is most competitive, with a scientific production comparable to that of other European countries. As a result of this research work we today have one of the best treatments for our patients, which has been reflected in a significant increase in the survival and quality of life of patients affected by liver and digestive diseases.