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1.  The ACCURE-trial: the effect of appendectomy on the clinical course of ulcerative colitis, a randomised international multicenter trial (NTR2883) and the ACCURE-UK trial: a randomised external pilot trial (ISRCTN56523019) 
BMC Surgery  2015;15:30.
Over the past 20 years evidence has accumulated confirming the immunomodulatory role of the appendix in ulcerative colitis (UC). This led to the idea that appendectomy might alter the clinical course of established UC. The objective of this body of research is to evaluate the short-term and medium-term efficacy of appendectomy to maintain remission in patients with UC, and to establish the acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the intervention compared to standard treatment.
These paired phase III multicenter prospective randomised studies will include patients over 18 years of age with an established diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and a disease relapse within 12 months prior to randomisation. Patients need to have been medically treated until complete clinical (Mayo score <3) and endoscopic (Mayo score 0 or 1) remission. Patients will then be randomised 1:1 to a control group (maintenance 5-ASA treatment, no appendectomy) or elective laparoscopic appendectomy plus maintenance treatment. The primary outcome measure is the one year cumulative UC relapse rate - defined both clinically and endoscopically as a total Mayo-score ≥5 with endoscopic subscore of 2 or 3. Secondary outcomes that will be assessed include the number of relapses per patient at 12 months, the time to first relapse, health related quality of life and treatment costs, and number of colectomies in each arm.
The ACCURE and ACCURE-UK trials will provide evidence on the role and acceptability of appendectomy in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and the effects of appendectomy on the disease course.
Trial registration
NTR2883; ISRCTN56523019
PMCID: PMC4393565  PMID: 25887789
Inflammatory bowel disease; Ulcerative colitis; Appendectomy; Surgery; Disease course
2.  Clinical Significance of C-Reactive Protein Levels in Predicting Responsiveness to Iron Therapy in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Iron Deficiency Anemia 
Digestive Diseases and Sciences  2014;60(5):1375-1381.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a common complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In clinical practice, many patients receive initial treatment with iron tablets although intravenous (i.v.) iron supplementation is often preferable.
This study investigated whether systemic inflammation at initiation of treatment (assessed by C-reactive protein [CRP] and interleukin-6 [IL-6] measurements) predicts response to iron therapy.
Data from a previously published phase III trial were retrospectively analyzed after stratification of patients according to baseline CRP (>4 vs. ≤4 mg/L) and IL-6 (>6 vs. ≤6 pg/mL) levels. The study population consisted of patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and IDA (Hb ≤ 110 g/L and TSAT < 20 % or serum ferritin < 100 ng/mL), randomized to either oral (ferrous sulfate) or i.v. iron (ferric carboxymaltose).
A total of 196 patients were evaluated (oral iron: n = 60; i.v. iron: n = 136). Baseline CRP and IL-6 levels were independent of patients’ initial Hb levels and iron status (serum ferritin and TSAT; all p > 0.05). Among iron tablet-treated patients, Hb increase was significantly smaller in the high- versus low-CRP subgroup (1.1 vs. 2.0, 2.3 vs. 3.1, and 3.0 vs. 4.0 g/dL at weeks 2, 4, and 8, respectively; all p < 0.05). Differences were less pronounced with stratification according to baseline IL-6. Response to i.v. iron was mainly independent of inflammation.
Patients with high baseline CRP achieved a lower Hb response with oral iron therapy. Our results suggest that CRP may be useful to identify IBD patients who can benefit from first-line treatment with i.v. iron to improve their IDA.
PMCID: PMC4427620  PMID: 25501922
Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; Inflammatory bowel disease; C-reactive protein; Iron deficiency; Iron therapy; Anemia
3.  A revised classification of the cleft lip and palate 
Submucous cleft palate is characterized by muscular diastasis of the velum in the presence of intact mucosa with variable combinations of bifid uvula and hard palatal defect. Submucous cleft palate is indicated as a separate entity in most previous classifications but it has never been properly classified on an anatomical basis.
To revise the Smith-modified Kernahan ‘Y’ classification of cleft lip and palate deformities, and to describe the different anatomical subtypes of submucous cleft palate.
The present study was conducted in Hayatabad Medical Complex, Abasin Hospital and Aman Hospital Peshawar, Pakistan, from November 2010 to December 2011. All patients who presented to the outpatient departments with cleft lip and palate, with the exception of previously operated cases, were included. All cases were described according to the Smith-modified Kernahan ‘Y’ classification and the authors’ revised Smith-modified Kernahan ‘Y’ classification. All of the data were organized and analyzed using SPSS version 17 (IBM Corporation, USA).
A total of 163 cases of cleft lip and palate deformities were studied, of which 59.5% were male and 40.5% were female. Smith modification of the Kernahan ‘Y’ classification completely described the cleft deformities in 93.9% of patients. However, while the Kernahan ‘Y’ classification represented the submucous cleft palate, it did not describe its different anatomical subtypes in 6.13% of patients. The revised Smith-modified Kernahan ‘Y’ classification completely described the cleft deformities of the entire study population, including the different submucous cleft palate patients.
The Smith alphanumeric modification of the Kernahan ‘Y’ classification of cleft lip and palate came into existence after a long search and a series of modifications over the past century. This classification system describes the cleft region, site of the cleft, degree of the cleft, rare and asymmetrical clefts, and are computer database friendly. However, this classification did not describe the different anatomical subtypes of submucous cleft palate that have variable relationships with velopharyngeal insufficiency.
The revised Smith-modified Kernahan ‘Y’ classification described in the present study can describe all types of cleft lip and palate deformities in addition to the different types of submucous cleft palate deformities.
PMCID: PMC3891101  PMID: 24431938
Cleft lip; Cleft palate; Submucous cleft palate; Velopharyngeal insufficiency
5.  Whipple’s disease with constrictive pericarditis: A rare disease with a rare presentation 
Whipple’s disease is a multisystem disease that can affect the heart with predominantly endocardial and pericardial involvement and, less often, myocardial inflammation. Previously diagnosed at autopsy, cardiac involvement in Whipple’s disease is being recognized clinically more often. A 58-year-old man with Whipple’s-related constrictive pericarditis, arthralgias and lymphadenopathy is described. He underwent antibiotic treatment and pericardiectomy with improvement in his clinical state.
PMCID: PMC2691706  PMID: 19279994
Constrictive pericarditis; Jejunal biopsy; Lymphadenopathy; Pericardiectomy; Whipple’s disease
6.  Is iron overload in alcohol-related cirrhosis mediated by hepcidin? 
In this case report we describe the relationship between ferritin levels and hepcidin in a patient with alcohol-related spur cell anemia who underwent liver transplantation. We demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between serum or urinary hepcidin and serum ferritin, which indicates that inadequate hepcidin production by the diseased liver is associated with elevated serum ferritin. The ferritin level falls with increasing hepcidin production after transplantation. Neither inflammatory indices (IL6) nor erythropoietin appear to be related to hepcidin expression in this case. We suggest that inappropriately low hepcidin production by the cirrhotic liver may contribute substantially to elevated tissue iron stores in cirrhosis and speculate that hepcidin replacement in these patients may be of therapeutic benefit in the future.
PMCID: PMC2791283  PMID: 19998511
Alcohol; Iron; Anaemia; Hepcidin; Cirrhosis
7.  SELDI-TOF-MS determination of hepcidin in clinical samples using stable isotope labelled hepcidin as an internal standard 
Proteome Science  2008;6:28.
Hepcidin is a 25-residue peptide hormone crucial to iron homeostasis. It is essential to measure the concentration of hepcidin in cells, tissues and body fluids to understand its mechanisms and roles in physiology and pathophysiology. With a mass of 2791 Da hepcidin is readily detectable by mass spectrometry and LC-ESI, MALDI and SELDI have been used to estimate systemic hepcidin concentrations by analysing serum or urine. However, peak heights in mass spectra may not always reflect concentrations in samples due to competition during binding steps and variations in ionisation efficiency. Thus the purpose of this study was to develop a robust assay for measuring hepcidin using a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach in conjunction with SELDI-TOF-MS.
We synthesised and re-folded hepcidin labelled with 13C/15N phenylalanine at position 9 to generate an internal standard for mass spectrometry experiments. This labelled hepcidin is 10 Daltons heavier than the endogenous peptides and does not overlap with the isotopic envelope of the endogenous hepcidin or other common peaks in human serum or urine mass spectra and can be distinguished in low resolution mass spectrometers. We report the validation of adding labelled hepcidin into serum followed by SELDI analysis to generate an improved assay for hepcidin.
We demonstrate that without utilising a spiking approach the hepcidin peak height in SELDI spectra gives a good indication of hepcidin concentration. However, a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach provides a more robust assay, measures the absolute concentration of hepcidin and should facilitate inter-laboratory hepcidin comparisons.
PMCID: PMC2571088  PMID: 18854031
8.  Increased hepcidin expression in colorectal carcinogenesis 
AIM: To investigate whether the iron stores regulator hepcidin is implicated in colon cancer-associated anaemia and whether it might have a role in colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS and SELDI-TOF MS) was employed to measure hepcidin in urine collected from 56 patients with colorectal cancer. Quantitative Real Time RT-PCR was utilized to determine hepcidin mRNA expression in colorectal cancer tissue. Hepcidin cellular localization was determined using immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: We demonstrate that whilst urinary hepcidin expression was not correlated with anaemia it was positively associated with increasing T-stage of colorectal cancer (P < 0.05). Furthermore, we report that hepcidin mRNA is expressed in 34% of colorectal cancer tissue specimens and was correlated with ferroportin repression. This was supported by hepcidin immunoreactivity in colorectal cancer tissue.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that systemic hepcidin expression is unlikely to be the cause of the systemic anaemia associated with colorectal cancer. However, we demonstrate for the first time that hepcidin is expressed by colorectal cancer tissue and that this may represent a novel oncogenic signalling mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2693679  PMID: 18322945
Iron; Hepcidin; Colon; Cancer; Anaemia; Mass spectrometry

Results 1-8 (8)