AGA Programming at DDW 2021

Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2021 Virtual was a success. The AGA Institute Council thanks its speakers, moderators and presenters for delivering a diverse array of educational and scientific sessions at DDW.

The DDW Online Planner is your first look at high-level programming and full-text abstracts, planned by the AGA Institute Council, in an interactive desktop version. To browse sessions, filter by society=AGA. To expand to full screen, click the box with arrows in the lower left corner. 

Attendees can access the virtual platform until Aug. 23, 2021. and watch all sessions on demand, view ePosters and visit the Industry Supporter Showcase. Weren’t able to attend live but want to join? You can still purchase access to the site.

In addition to the scientific sessions, each section recognized their Research Mentor Awardee. Established in 2010, the Research Mentor Award recognizes council members for their achievements as outstanding mentors in specific areas of research.

AGA Institute Council Session Picks

Frances and Don W. Powell, Md, Lecture: Small Intestinal Microbes, Metabolites and Gi Disease

Why you should watch: Small intestinal microbiota metabolize dietary substrates and are recognized to play a role in inflammation, obesity and functional disorders. These microbes and their metabolic pathways may be therapeutic targets to prevent or treat disorders of intestinal inflammation. This session included live Q&A.

A Long and Winding Road: GI Impacts of COVID-19

Why you should watch: SARS-COV-2 has proven a formidable foe for the gastroenterologist, disrupting health care delivery and colorectal cancer prevention programs, and infecting epithelial cells in the gastrointestinal tract to cause acute GI symptoms. Persistent symptoms in a proportion of patients will be a new challenge as the surge in COVID-19 cases subsides.

Can New Technologies Solve the Old Mystery of Environmental Enteropathy?

Why you should watch: This session will describe contributions of microbiota, host response and malnutrition to environmental enteropathy and how this affects the developing immune system, explain how advanced laboratory, in vivo imaging and computational techniques are being applied in the small intestine, and distinguish between celiac disease and environmental enteropathy based upon clinical, endoscopic and histopathological features. This session included live Q&A.

Session Title: Dynamic Plasticity of GI Stem Cells

Why you should watch: This symposium features cutting-edge talks about the dynamic behavior of stem cells in regeneration and tumorigenesis in multiple GI organs.

Stromal-Epithelial Crosstalk in GI Disease

Why you should watch: This exciting symposium features talks on how stromal cells and fibrosis affect GI organs like esophagus and intestines. Stroma-epithelial interactions are critical in esophagitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Metabolites and Bioactive Lipids in GI Disease

Why you should watch: This symposium features talks from leaders in the field discussing how cellular metabolism and the release of metabolites from bacteria in the microbiome affect GI diseases in the gastrointestinal tract and in the pancreas.

Barrett’s Esophagus: What’s New from Diagnosis Through Treatment

Why you should watch: The goal of this session is to address areas of clinical uncertainty and the evolution of thinking in evidence-based management of Barrett’s esophagus. Attendees hear from internationally recognized experts in the field who address the current state of targeted screening, what to expect from noninvasive screening tools, optimal surveillance practice and unanswered questions in endoscopic eradication therapy.

COVID-19 and GI Practice: Learning from the Past as We Build Towards a Better Future

Why you should watch: Hear the newest breakthroughs in the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in GI endoscopy.

Open Questions in Colorectal Cancer Screening

Why you should watch: This session tackles — by bringing best evidence — some of the most difficult questions in the colorectal cancer screening space. Topics addressed include when to start screening, what modality to use and how to proceed when a screening colonoscopy is negative. The multi-target DNA test is increasingly being used as a screening test. Evidence on real world performance of the test will be outlined. Also, the difficult question of how to proceed when the MT-DNA test is positive, but the colonoscopy is negative will be addressed. Finally, there are many emerging technologies being developed. A review of the evidence supporting them is provided.

Diagnosis and Management of Pancreatic Cystic Neoplasms

Why you should watch: For years, presentations at DDW focused on endoscopic diagnosis of pancreatic cystic neoplasms. There has been a recent surge of published studies testing various interventions for treating cystic neoplasms (endoscopic ultrasound-guided). This session puts these studies in perspective and compare them with surgical resection on the one hand and surveillance on the other.

Technological Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Why you should watch: Physicians hear from leading experts on the major technological breakthroughs in IBD management.

Improving Your GI Practice With Digital Technologies and Artificial Intelligence

Why you should watch: Hear the newest breakthroughs in the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in GI endoscopy.

Donald O. Castell, MD, Lecture: Controversies in Esophageal Disorders

Why you should watch:  The third annual, Donald O. Castell, MD, Lecture pits esophageal experts in two debates addressing controversial topics in the esophagus. The first debate enlightens the audience on the relevance of “ineffective esophageal motility” in the clinical evaluation of GERD and dysphagia. The debate features the esophageal mavens Phillip Katz, MD, and Peter Kahrilas, MD. The second debate examines the controversial issue of maintenance therapy for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) with proponent Alain Schoepfer, MD, facing opponent Jeffrey Alexander, MD. Moderator-referees David Katzka , MD, and Michael Vaezi, MD, will ensure that the fighting is fair and evidence-based.

Kristin and David Peura, MD, Symposium — Surveillance for Gastric Intestinal Metaplasia: Is It Worthwhile?

Why you should watch: Whether to perform endoscopic surveillance in patients with gastric intestinal metaplasia is controversial. The AGA guidelines (published in 2020) support NOT doing surveillance routinely and are at variance with European and other guidelines that have generally endorsed surveillance. This session brings together internationally renowned experts to debate this important practical issue.

Barry Marshall (Nobel Laureate 2005) and Adrienne Marshall Lecture: Nobel Laureate Barry Marshall’s Legacy and the Current Challenges of H. pylori Therapy

Why you should watch: H. pylori management has become increasingly challenging due to widespread antimicrobial resistance worldwide. This session provides invaluable and practical information to help clinicians evaluate resistance in their population of interest, and to develop strategies to optimize treatment success. As an exciting introduction Barry Marshall (Nobel Laureate in 2005 for his role as co-discoverer of H. pylori) will review how H. pylori was first cultured in 1982 and how the initial findings bumped up inconveniently against the existing medical dogma.

Risk Factors For, and Etiology of, Early Onset Colorectal Cancer

Why you should watch: This session reviews the latest research on the potential explanations for the rise in early onset colorectal cancer incidence.

Stealthy Bacteria: Role of The Microbiome in the Etiology, Pathogenesis and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

Why you should watch: This session examines the role of the microbiome in colorectal cancer pathogenesis, and how it can be used to facilitate prevention and treatment.

Diet and Cancer Prevention

Why you should watch: This session examines epidemiologic, basic science and clinical trial evidence into the role of diet in the prevention of gastrointestinal cancer.

Farron and Martin Brotman, MD, Lecture: Choosing and Positioning Therapies for Ulcerative Colitis

Why you should watch: Over the last decade, our treatment armamentarium for patients with moderate-severe UC has expanded. In the last few years, several head-to-head trials have expanded our understanding of the comparative efficacy of these agents. In this symposium, we review approaches to positioning therapies for UC based on comparative efficacy, safety and risk of complications, and evaluate emerging predictors that may help choose the right therapy for your patient.

Patricia and Ralph Giannella Lecture: Mapping Intestinal Cell Subsets With Single-Cell Resolution in Health and Disease

Why you should watch: Single-cell analysis platforms such as single-cell RNAseq (scRNAseq), mass cytometry (CyTOF), and multiplex immunofluorescence hold tremendous promise for identifying key cell subsets involved in human intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Mapping the spatial relationships of these subsets will help identify networks of cells involved in intestinal pathology, which could translate into novel biomarkers for precision medicine and new avenues for therapy.

Predicting (and Preventing?) the Development of IBD

Why you should watch: While the search for an IBD cure continues, growing research is targeted at identifying early biomarkers for pre-clinical disease, as well as reliable predictors of IBD risk. Can such studies lead us to a better understanding of IBD pathophysiology and a hope for preventative strategies against IBD development? Come hear the latest research in this groundbreaking area of IBD.

A Day of Liver Consults

Why you should watch: This exciting session includes clinical pearls in managing common liver disorders seen in practice. This is must-see for anyone who consults on liver disorders.

Managing Complications of Cirrhosis

Why you should watch: This session includes an overview of common complications of cirrhosis and how to manage them. Even for seasoned practitioners, this session will provide up-to-date management pearls.

Charles S. Lieber Lecture – New Frontiers: Alcoholic Liver Disease

Why you should watch: Alcoholic liver disease is the fastest growing liver disease in the U.S., with the fastest growing population needing liver transplant. It is the most striking unmet medical need in terms of new liver disease therapies.

Designing Native and Engineered Bugs as Drugs: The Path Forward

Why you should watch: The first generation of probiotics, while promising, have failed to live up to our expectations. However, these studies have been valuable in informing the next steps which will lead to more precise microbiome therapies. In this session you get an early peek into what probiotics 2.0 will look like. These include native and engineered microbes as well as microbial communities and bacteriophages. You will also learn how to take your discoveries forward to developing it as a therapeutic. Also tune into this session to hear the results of phase III clinical trials of defined microbial consortia which are first in line for FDA approval for clinical use.

The Healthy Gut Microbiome: A 2020 Research Mentor-Mentee Perspective

Why you should watch: The MMT Research Mentor Award will be presented to Professor Fergus Shanahan. This interactive session will include contributions by Eamonn Quigley, MD, Charles Bernstein, MD, and Paul O’Toole, PhD, who consider physician perspectives of what constitutes a healthy microbiome and how an abnormal microbiome should be diagnosed and treated.

Microbiome Regulation of Mucosal and Systemic Immunity (Recognizing Dan Littman as a Pioneer)

Why you should watch: A mentor-mentee driven session that recognizes the pioneering microbiome studies of Professor Dan Littman. This interactive session includes Littman mentees Randy Longman, MD, PhD, Jun Huh, PhD, and Gretchen Diehl, PhD, who have all made seminal contributions in understanding how the microbiome contributes to gut inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Josephine and Michael Camilleri, MD, Lecture — Food, Microbes and Functional GI Disease: The Science Behind the Hype

Why you should watch: DDW attendees will find both a practical approach to treating patients with FGIDs using dietary therapies and an approachable scientific rationale for our current understanding of the translational medicine behind the clinical data. Dietary treatments for FGIDs are the most popular treatment option among patients by far, and this session will give clinicians useful opinions on treatment of their patients but also fodder for the inevitable patient questions about the science behind the food. Scientists will get a good overview of the latest in translational science in this ever-changing field while seeing the application of this knowledge to clinical practice.

Complex Clinical Scenarios in GI Motility: A Focus on Management

Why you should watch: GI motility and functional disorders are commonly seen in clinical practice. When patients do not respond to standard therapy there are a variety of management considerations. This session highlights challenging cases of GI motility with a focus on refractory treatment options.

Neuroimmune Communication in the GI Tract

Why you should watch: This symposium highlights the latest advances in the field of neuroimmune communication in the gastrointestinal tract. Mechanisms of host defense that involve intestinal epithelial cells, the enteric nervous system and the immune system will be highlighted. Crosstalk between microbiota, muscularis macrophages and enteric neurons in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility will be discussed. These topics will have a broad scientific appeal in the fields of neurogastroenterolgy and motility, inflammation and the gut microbiome.

COVID-19 and Vitamin D

Why you should watch: The pathophysiology of COVID-19 involves gut/lung microbiome-immune system dysregulation and the disease may be manifested in the gastrointestinal tract and have a more severe outcome. This session elucidates the growing evidence for the potential causative role of the microbiome-immune system in disease pathogenesis and its potential modulation by vitamin D.

Session Title: Brand-Name Diets and Nutrients for Weight Loss: Hype or Help?

Why you should watch: Diets, and nutrients are the cornerstone for obesity management. New diets come and go; this symposium covers the most relevant new diets, including time restrictive feeding.

Endoscopic Bariatric Procedures: The Ground Realities

Why you should watch: This session reviews the latest research on the potential explanations for the rise in early onset colorectal cancer incidence.

Advancing Technologies in Imaging for Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer

Why you should watch: Presentation of new methods including the application of artificial intelligence are transforming the performance of imaging. Imaging methods in pancreatic diseases are undergoing significant and rapid advances including the application of artificial intelligence. A description of these methods and their application were presented.

Mechanisms of Pain and Multimodal Management Options for the Treatment of Pain in Chronic Pancreatitis

Why you should watch: Pain is the most troublesome and disabling feature of chronic pancreatic disease and has a significant impact on long-term outcome. A deeper understanding of the determinants of pain perception and methods for addressing these was discussed.

The Role of Genetics and Genetic Testing for Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer

Why you should watch: Application of genetics to pancreatic diseases is increasingly recognized as a cause of pancreatitis, and influencer of outcome, and for precision medicine approaches to pancreatic cancer. The panel discusses the utilization of genetic testing for management of pancreatic diseases.

Pediatric Gastroenterology Disorders

Why you should watch: Check out a state-of-the-art talk on COVID19 and Pediatric IBD (Michael Kappelman) and scientific updates in pediatric gastroenterology

Pediatric Liver and Pancreatic Disorders

Why you should watch: Scientific updates on pediatric liver and pancreatic disorders, including state-of-the-art talks on COVID and pediatric liver transplant, and unraveling drug-induced pancreatitis.

The Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine of the Digestive Organs

Why you should watch: New advances in understanding intestinal stem cell behavior and dynamic control of cell differentiation in the gut.

AGA scientific programming at DDW is developed by

AGA Institute Council

AGA members save on DDW registration

Join AGA, or renew your membership, by March 24, 2021, to receive the early bird member discount. Member trainees, residents and students receive complimentary registration during the early bird period. DDW registration opens Jan. 20, 2021.