A new year: 2 gastroenterologists on 2016 resolutions

New Year's is often a time for self-reflection and goal setting. Two gastroenterologists share their New Year's resolutions for 2016.

Ask a Gastroenterologist is a weekly series of questions posed to GI physicians around the country on business and clinical issues affecting the field of gastroenterology. We invite all gastroenterologists to submit responses.      

Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus): My resolution is to not make any more resolutions. All too often I've either forgotten, lost enthusiasm for or found reasons to ignore my resolution(s) halfway through the New Year. For me, resolutions have tended to be a form of wishful thinking and promises to myself that are more unrealistic than achievable. Instead of making resolutions, such as have a six-pack by spring, I've made conscious decisions - before nearing the end of the year and being tempted to make another failed resolution - to change what used to be hobbies into habits, such as working out, for example.

Peter G. Traber, MD, CEO, CMO, Galectin Therapeutics (Norcross, Ga.): My New Year's resolution is to work tirelessly to improve the treatment outlook for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis patients with advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis and bring more awareness to this hidden epidemic. As many as 30 million people in the United States suffer from NASH. There are currently no approved therapies for the estimated 9 million U.S. patients with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis; their only hope being a liver transplant when they develop decompensated cirrhosis.

At Galectin Therapeutics, we've seen promise in the development and study of a drug, called GR-MD-02, which inhibits the galectin-3 molecule, a critical protein in the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis, including liver fibrosis. In preclinical animal studies, GR-MD-02 was able to improve NASH activity and reverse fibrosis and cirrhosis, which led to a clinical development program in NASH with advanced fibrosis. A phase 1 trial in NASH with advanced fibrosis showed the drug was safe, targeted the desired therapeutic dose, and suggested that there were effects on the fibrotic process. There are now two phase 2 clinical trials underway, the NASH-CX min patients with NASH cirrhosis, and NASH-FX in NASH patients with advanced fibrosis. Plans are for enrollment of both trials to be completed in 2016, with top line results for NASH-FX in 2016 as well.

Our goal is to bring hope to patients with this advanced liver disease through this clinical development program, and thus is our most important 2016 resolution.  

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