Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.
25 years of Hepatology†
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2006
Copyright © 2006 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
Special Issue: 25th Anniversary Issue
Volume 43, Issue S1, page S1, February 2006
How to Cite
Blei, Dr. A. T. (2006), 25 years of Hepatology. Hepatology, 43: S1. doi: 10.1002/hep.21050
- Issue published online: 30 JAN 2006
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2006
For many, celebrations of “watershed” anniversaries result in bittersweet feelings. The arrival of a milestone generates satisfaction while it also reminds us of life's finality. Hepatology 's 25th anniversary offers occasion to rejoice and an opportunity to reaffirm plans for the longevity of its pages. The “green” journal published its first issue in the winter of 1981. Twenty-five years later, Hepatology is a leading site of publication for several disciplines involved in the study of the pathobiology of the liver. As stated in “Instructions to Authors:” “Hepatology publishes original research on the biology and diseases of the liver in both humans and experimental models.”
In 1981, readers encountered a different medical scenario. Hepatitis C remained unknown and liver transplantation was in its infancy. Investigators sought pathways of signal transduction and complete gene sequencing but faltered before such lofty goals. The treatment of hepatitis B was an unattainable objective and experts viewed hepatocellular carcinoma as a terminal disease. Hepatology has provided a vehicle for transmitting major advances in the field over a twenty-five year period. This time has fashioned a different landscape for investigators and clinicians while transforming the lives of patients afflicted with liver disease, who today benefit from the explosion of knowledge and available options. Investment in research, both public and private, has produced a measurable impact on the lives of individuals, even in the face of uneven access to medical care in the United States and other areas of the world.
Hepatology has also served as a conduit for the growth of a burgeoning medical discipline: Hepatology. Liver “docs” are the fruit of the expansion of contemporary diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. The journal contributes to the identity of the discipline by reaffirming the need to publish across a spectrum that runs from basic experimental studies to randomized controlled trials. If I had to venture what makes an individual choose to become a hepatologist, the answer would encompass more than an attraction to complex and weighty medical issues. Rather, hepatologists exhibit a singular devotion to pathophysiology and the study of mechanisms of disease, whose multiple layers are conveyed every month in our pages.
The Anniversary issue is structured along lines that are familiar to readers of our “regular” editions. A historical perspective is elaborated by Dr. Irwin Arias, Editor Emeritus and first steward of the journal. Dr. Arias reflects on the uncertainty that once surrounded the creation of Hepatology . Former editors share thoughts about some of the highly visible manuscripts they handled during their tenure. A series of review articles on key topics in Hepatology are divided along the 3 cores that represent the constituency of the AASLD. The international dimension of the journal is well represented in the list of contributors. Finally our “Highlighters” point at research directions likely to mature over the next years, offering insights that have risen out of their role in monthly editions. To all, my gratitude for their contributions.
The choice of review topics is by no means all-inclusive. Limitations of space precluded a textbook approach to the many frontiers that are yet to be breached: the importance of biliary transporters in physiology and disease; the prospects for an artificial/bioartificial liver; new research directions available through proteomics/metabolomics; or the potential of pharmacogenomics as a tool to predict drug hepatotoxicity. These are only a few examples and the list continues to expand, reflecting the dynamism that surrounds liver research today.
Predicting the future is always a dangerous task. Regardless, I dare to envision a 50th Anniversary Issue that will celebrate the many achievements of the next 25 years. May the journal continue on the path set out by its initial founders, may the search for excellence continue to guide it, and may Hepatology continue to be a leading force in the conquest of liver disease.