Hepatology in the 21st century. Gene transfer, hepatocyte transplantation, DNA chips, cyberspace and ... a friendly hospital

P. L. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

What to expect for hepatology in the 21st century? If science is allowed to proceed at its current rate, expectations can hardly be underestimated. Bound by the present day's limitations we are only able to see a glimpse of what could be available 100 years from now. For the next few decades, the global eradication of viral hepatitis will be on the agenda. For the treatment of inherited and acquired metabolic, toxic and immune liver disease, targeted drugs, genes and antisense oligonucleotides will be added to our therapeutic repertoire. The completion of the human genome project in 2003 will have far-reaching consequences: the widespread use of prenatal diagnosis, using DNA chip technology, may be expected to cause a dramatic decrease in the incidence of inherited diseases. Liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and inborn errors of metabolism may be treated by gene transfer or gene repair therapy. Although eventually these developments may decrease the need for organ transplantation, this by no means is the case yet and no solution is available for an increased demand and a decreased supply of organs. In the long run, diseases caused by multi-drug-resistant infectious agents and diseases associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs are expected to become major problems. The future of university-based research is uncertain. The staggering costs of research and limited career possibilities may force universities to the limited task of higher education, with as a result biotech companies, shareholders and corporate finance ruling the scientific waves in the next century. The 21st century patient will know the way in cyberspace and will go shopping for the best doctor, for the best treatment and for the best, or friendliest, hospital
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-292
JournalNetherlands journal of medicine
Volume55
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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