Northwestern’s Tissue Bank Breaking Ground on Digestive Diseases

There’s a new tool in the fight against gastrointestinal diseases – and it’s housed at Northwestern University.

The tissue bank, known formally as the Digestive Health Foundation BioRepository, stores blood and tissues samples from patients and their family members who suffer from any digestive disorder treated at the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center. Researchers there will use those tissue samples to generate more knowledge around gastrointestinal diseases and to develop new treatment options for these diseases, which affect around 60 to 70 million Americans each year.

The tissue bank is being funded in part by the Digestive Health Foundation, Northwestern University and other sources.

Dr. Stephen B. Hanauer, co-founder and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center, says people who suffer from gastrointestinal diseases “require a great deal of support both emotionally and medically.”

“When I was in training my mentor specialized in these diseases – which often affect young individuals with socially embarrassing conditions such as diarrhea and bleeding and abdominal pain who have chronic conditions that are treatable but not curable,” he said.

Hanauer joins us to discuss this new initiative.

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