Michael Helmrath, MD, has expertise in gastrointestinal diseases that cause intestinal failure. His basic research is focused on the adaptive response of stem cells following surgical loss of the bowel. Multiple NIH-supported projects focus on the expansion of intestinal stem cells and the ability to culture and expand both murine and human intestinal epithelium. Clinically, he is the surgical director of the intestinal rehabilitation center and is actively involved in establishing the intestinal failure registry and outcome trials in this patient population.
Marc Levitt, MD, Alberto Pena, MD, Andrea Bischoff, MD, Jason Frischer, MD, Belinda Dickie, MD, Michael Helmrath, MD, make up the Colorectal Center Team. The Colorectal Center for Children is engaged in a quality of life research project, the FISH study, to assess how patients are doing following their participation in the Bowel Management Program to treat fecal incontinence. This involves collaboration among several pediatric surgeons, as well as with psychology, and nursing. Once the quality of life tool is complete, we anticipate that other collaborating Centers around the world will use the tool for the assessment of their patients. The Center’s role in training pediatric surgeons in Africa continued its relationship with Accra, Ghana, where at Korle Bu Teaching hospital, four surgeons and four nurses are being trained in advanced pediatric colorectal techniques. The colorectal team visited the hospital there for the second time in March 2012; 34 children underwent complex colorectal reconstructions. The team included staff of Cincinnati Children’s as well as surgeons and nurses from collaborating centers in the Netherlands, South Africa and Israel. So far, Korle Bu has served as the regional center for pediatric colorectal problems and has cared for children from 10 surrounding African nations. The trip was supported by a $15,000 grant from Kind Cuts for Kids.
Our Center also collaborates with Johns Hopkins Medical Center on the genetic aspects of Hirschsprung's disease; we have the most patients enrolled in this study. We collaborate with John Clancy, MD, in Pulmonary Medicine, who is researching the CFTR gene and its role in constipation in patients without cystic fibrosis. Specimens from colorectal cases are being analyzed for this funded project.
Thomas Inge, MD, PhD, and Todd Jenkins, MPH, PhD, direct the Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation. In addition to participating in a long and growing list of collaborative studies, this Center partners with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to lead the national effort to prospectively gather data and publish evidence-based recommendations for use of weight loss surgery in adolescents.
The NIDDK-funded Teen LABS study, the largest multicenter study of outcomes following weight loss surgery, received five additional years of funding in 2011; five-year funding renewal was also granted to the study’s data coordinating center, overseen by Jenkins and C. Ralph Buncher, ScD.