The gastroenterologists and surgeons within SJMHS are also leaders in clinical
research. The health system allows investigators to conduct innovative research
in a real-world setting. The diverse patient population and the wide range of
clinical presentations facilitate investigation into a number of different areas.
Active research interests include:
- Colon cancer screening
- Colon cancer treatment
- Viral hepatitis
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Drug-induced liver injury
Colon cancer screening: fecal DNA vs. endoscopic evaluation
SJMHS is one of the main institutions collaborating with the Mayo Clinic to
assess the value of testing for colon cancer by screening DNA from colon cells
found in stool samples. Researchers are comparing the accuracy of this methodology
to hemoccult fecal blood testing, by targeting patients over 50 who require
colonoscopies. Potential benefits of this DNA cancer screening are:
- Increased accuracy for detection of gastrointestinal
- A less-invasive alternative to colonoscopies
Hepatitis C research
SJMHS is studying the severity of hepatitis C in community-based patients,
and evaluating the efficacy versus effectiveness of current hepatitis C therapy.
Ongoing viral hepatitis research includes:
- An intervention in multiple primary care clinics
attempting to optimize the identification and management of patients with the
- Exciting studies regarding new potential hepatitis C risk factors
This compelling research has the potential to change the perception of hepatitis
C among physicians and policy makers, as well as bring lifestyle change and
treatment to the large proportion of unidentified patients.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Investigators at SJMHS identified important deficits in the dosing of anti-reflux
medicines. The nationwide survey demonstrated dosing patterns that would significantly
decrease the benefits of these medications. This research has led to guidelines
educating primary care physicians regarding these commonly used medications.
Colon cancer surgery
Colorectal surgeons at SJMHS collaborated in ground-breaking research that
demonstrated the safety of laparoscopic vs. traditional colon cancer surgeries.
This less-invasive approach led to decreased length of stay and shorter recovery
For more information about our current clinical trials and research, see Clinical Research.