New hope for the treatment of intestinal failure in pediatric patients
Professor Mikko Pakarinen’s research group studies congenital liver and gastrointestinal disorders in children. The researchers also examined the significance of congenital disease phenotype to the prognosis and to the onset of clinical symptoms.
In the research group, the expertise of experienced pediatric surgeons and pediatricians is combined with the expertise of young pediatric surgeons and pediatricians interested in the research topic. The group actively cooperates on a national level and with international research groups.
Pakarinen explains that networking has allowed the use of modern analytical methods in the study.
Knowledge of the pathophysiological and genetic mechanisms of liver and gastrointestinal disorders will help to develop the diagnostics, treatment and monitoring of the diseases, and to improve the treatment results.
– We are particularly interested in severe intestinal failure related liver damage, biliary atresia, and congenital development disorders of the biliary tract, liver and the intestine, Mikko Pakarinen explains.
These diseases continue to cause significant long-term morbidity. Some of them are also associated with high mortality rates.
New pharmaceutical treatments under investigation
The group is also about to create reliable markers for liver damage which are suitable for clinical use. They are required for the new medicinal investigations on pediatric liver and bile duct diseases in order to monitor the response to treatment.
Pakarinen’s group actively participates in international clinical multicentre studies looking for new pharmaceutical treatments.
– These studies have, for the first time, been able to pharmacologically improve the intestinal absorption function in patients with short bowel syndrome, and to reduce the need for intravenous nutrition.
According to Pakarinen, the progress made in the research has an immediate positive effect on the treatment of patients.
– At the same time, we have made progress in the identification of the pathophysiological mechanisms of biliary atresia and the liver damage related to severe intestinal failure. This will allow for the development of new and better treatments in the future.
Between 2014 and 2018, the group published 80 original articles. The group regularly reports on its research results in international congresses in the field.
The research group was formed gradually in the 21st century, and its activities were officially launched in 2009.
The group includes various senior researchers, dissertation researchers and fledgling researchers as well as students carrying out their advanced studies.
Helsinki University Hospital Children and Adolescents