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  1. JP Galmiche,
  2. F Pallone

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In this supplement to Gut, the reader will find the full texts of papers presented at the spring meeting of the European Institute of Healthcare (EIH) held in Barcelona in April 2002. The EIH is an independent institute providing programmes of high standard continuous medical education for specialists. Programmes are organised in the following areas: gastroenterology, oncology, cardiology, respiratory disease, and the central nervous system. Each year, two symposia are held for each therapeutic area, gathering participants from 20 countries within Europe. The EIH has an independent medical steering committee chaired by Professor Emeritus G Vantrappen from the University of Leuven in Belgium to handle these programmes. The other members of this committee are the chairmen and co-chairmen of the scientific committees representing the five therapeutic areas. All EIH funding is provided by AstraZeneca.

The choice of the topic molecular gastroenterology by the GI Scientific Committee of the EIH was made on the basis of major advances in the field of genetics within the past decade relating to the Human Genome Project. Spectacular progress in the knowledge of human genes has already had major consequences for the clinician, especially the gastroenterologist. We are grateful to all the brilliant scientists and experts who contributed to this issue by presenting excellent state of the art lectures and putting into perspective future developments in both basic and clinically oriented research. This progress will not only change our concepts concerning the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of GI diseases (eg haemochromatosis, familial pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and cholestasis), but also the practical conditions of diagnosis and the therapeutic approaches relative to pharmacogenomics and gene therapy.