Innovations in hepatology


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

The last Corner for this editorial team will not focus on the 5 years at the helm of the Journal. HEPATOLOGY is prospering, as reflected by the rise in submissions, reader satisfaction (from the results of our readership survey) and the information provided by that number cruncher, the Impact Factor. Perhaps the best comment is the usual statement from many of our dedicated reviewers who tell us “This paper is not for HEPATOLOGY.” The demand for excellence has been established as a criterion for publication in our pages.

The focus, rather, should be on the future. The Table lists terms used in the jargon of basic research and clinical studies at the time of the first issue of HEPATOLOGY and their transformation over a 25-year period. The future will bring more scientific and clinical innovations and the Table will surely be reconfigured. Some of the advances are “around the corner,” such as new therapeutic approaches to hepatitis C. Some are ideas that will come to fruition through the collaboration of multiple disciplines, such as the current approaches to biomedical engineering.1 The excitement of discovery should always be present when opening the pages of the journal.

Table  . 
Dubin-JohnsonMrp 2 mutation
Alcohol/acetaldehydeOxidative stress
Fatty liverNASH and beyond
Lithocholic acidUrsodeoxycholic acid
Hepatitis BTreatment of hepatits B
Non-A/Non-B hepatitisHepatitis C
Portacaval shuntTIPS
Liver failureLiver transplantation

Innovations on manuscript authorship are also anticipated. The current median number of authors per manuscript in HEPATOLOGY is nine. When multicenter studies in Hepatology are becoming even more multicentric and ongoing blogging of bench results proposed as a tool to advance complex multilab projects, how will authorship be assigned? Will such assignments affect funding from governmental agencies? Scientific research walks the fine line between competition and collaboration; Hepatology and HEPATOLOGY will continue to benefit from a collaborative model of scientific investigation.

Innovations are needed to address profound social changes that now surround liver disease. The sheer worldwide volume of individuals with liver disease is staggering2 and it is predicted that even larger cohorts of subjects with hepatitis C and obesity-related liver disease will come to medical attention. The need to enhance training and increase manpower in Hepatology has never been keener. The fact that current medical treatments for many liver conditions are not accessible to a considerable number of patients cannot be dismissed. The Journal should be a vehicle for airing controversy in public policy matters.

This last issue of 2006 is brimming with information. Six manuscripts deserve an editorial comment and review articles cover a spectrum from complex genomics to innovations in liver surgical techniques. We part conveying the sense of continuing novelty that permeates our discipline today. As we do, we wish the next editorial team, based at the Mayo Clinic, success in the continuous search for innovation. May good judgment prevail when making decisions on the more than 1,800 submissions received per year (2006 estimate). While the workload is heavy, it is facilitated by the wonderful assistance from Greg Bologna and the editorial team in Alexandria. To Greg and his crew, our deep-felt thanks for all the help through these long (or where they short?) 5 years. And to the AASLD, our deep gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of HEPATOLOGY.