ECCO Country Member Profiles: The Netherlands

 The Netherlands

Name of group: The Dutch Society of Gastroenterology (NVGE) is responsible for basic and clinical research in gastroenterology. Members include not only Dutch gastroenterologists, but also surgeons, paediatricians, fellows in gastroenterology, PhD students, scientists and nurses. Persons with a specific interest in IBD are members of the IBD Section.

The Initiative on Crohn and Colitis (ICC) is our Dutch IBD research organisation, which facilitates, coordinates and conducts collaborative collection of data and biomaterials as well as IBD studies in The Netherlands.

Number of active members: The NVGE has approximately 1830 members. The IBD Section has 300 members.

The ICC has 38 active members spread across the seven academic medical centres as well as the peripheral hospitals.  

Number of meetings per year: The NVGE has two scientific meetings each year (Digestive Disease Days), with presentations of original work and several state-of-the-art lectures.

The ICC has one IBD meeting each year with both presentations of scientific output and lectures on clinical IBD-related topics.

In addition to these meetings, there are several general meetings during the year to discuss ongoing and future research projects.

Name of president and secretary: 

Dutch Society of Gastroenterology (NVGE): Janneke van der Woude and Andrea van der Meulen

Initiative on Crohn and Colitis (ICC): Frank Hoentjen and Nanne de Boer

National Representatives: Fiona van Schaik and Willemijn van Dop

Joined ECCO in: 2003

Incidence of IBD in the country:

Incidence:           Approximately 29 per 100,000 per year

Prevalence:         Approximately 1:200; 90,000 patients in The Netherlands

What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?

Since our ECCO Country Membership, there has been growing interest in IBD, increasing use of the many educational opportunities for gastroenterologists as well as gastroenterologists in training and IBD Nurses, further development of expertise in IBD across the country and a growing network of international IBD colleagues.

What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?

Being able to participate in the many ECCO Activities, having easy access to guidelines and the ECCO Learning Platform and being able to expand our network of IBD-interested colleagues across Europe.

Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?

We have a national IBD guideline developed by the guideline committee of one of our gastroenterology societies, the Dutch Association of Specialists for Gastroenterology-Hepatology, but most colleagues also regularly consult the ECCO Guidelines. The current update of our national IBD guideline is based upon the ECCO Guidelines.

Have you developed links with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?  See below.

  • Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
    Not yet.
  • Have you developed educational activities with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
    Yes, since 2019 The Netherlands has provided an education site for intestinal ultrasound.
  • Has your country been involved in a fellow exchange through ECCO?
    Not directly through ECCO, but indirectly through connections that originated from ECCO Activities.

What are your main areas of research interest?

Our main areas of research interest include IBD pathogenesis and prognosis [environmental factors, (pharmaco-)genetics, nutrition, microbiome], IBD therapy (evaluation of new IBD therapies by collecting real world data through the ICC register, stop strategies for medication in IBD and application of stem cells in IBD) and disease course (CRC surveillance, follow-up after ileocaecal resection, telemedicine and pregnancy in IBD).

Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or bio bank?

Yes, we developed the Dutch Initiative on Crohn and Colitis (ICC) Registry, a nationwide registry for IBD patients starting novel therapies in standard care with a systematic follow-up protocol. With this registry we aim to collect real-world data in a systematic, uniform and prospective manner in order to interpret the effectiveness and safety outcomes of new therapies in IBD.

We also participate in a biobanking collaboration called the Parelsnoer Clinical Biobanks. This is an initiative of the University Medical Centres (UMCs) in The Netherlands that offers researchers the infrastructure and harmonised procedures for the establishment, expansion and optimisation of clinical biobanks for collaborative scientific research. The ICC founded the Parelsnoer Clinical Biobank for IBD. The goal of this project is the study of molecular markers for disease course and treatment outcome of IBD.

What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?

First of all there is the development of the Parelsnoer Biobank (mentioned above). With the biomaterial collected in this biobank we have contributed to the identification of multiple susceptibility loci for IBD and primary sclerosing cholangitis, which has led to publications in Nature and Nature Genetics.

In addition, the ICC registry has already resulted in several important publications. For instance, a recent study demonstrated that ustekinumab was associated with superior effectiveness outcomes when compared to vedolizumab after 52 weeks of treatment in Crohn’s Disease patients who had failed anti-TNF treatment (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, July 2020).

Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group currently involved in?

We have several colleagues in The Netherlands who are active on ECCO Committees:

Janneke van der Woude is a member of the Governing Board (Treasurer), Christianne Buskens is participating in the S-ECCO Committee and Krisztina Gecse is the Chair of ClinCom. In addition, several Dutch colleagues are participating in working groups responsible for updating the ECCO Guidelines. Furthermore, we regularly contribute cases to the ECCO CONFER case series (the Collaborative Network For Exceptionally Rare case reports). Last but not least, most IBD doctors regularly attend the ECCO Congress and follow educational activities and workshops. The ECCO IBD Intensive Course for Trainees is very popular with our IBD fellows.

What are your aims for the future?

We aim to further improve the care for IBD patients in The Netherlands, to extend our IBD network and to increase the involvement in collaborative IBD research projects across The Netherlands and Europe.

How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?

Being an ECCO Member facilitates the contact with IBD colleagues from all over Europe/the world and provides an excellent base for multicentre research projects. Furthermore, the ECCO Awards and Grants offer great support for starting new research projects.  

What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress? How do you use the things/services that ECCO has to offer?

ECCO is our most important platform for guidelines, educational activities and scientific collaboration in Europe. The annual ECCO Congress is seen as an essential meeting for every health care practitioner with a focus on IBD and a great way to meet colleagues from all over Europe.

  • Willemijn van Dop

    Willemijn van Dop

  • Fiona van Schaik

    Fiona van Schaik

  • Meeting of the Initiative on Crohn and Colitis in January 2020

    Meeting of the Initiative on Crohn and Colitis in January 2020

    Pictures are subject to copyright © The Dutch Society of Gastroenterology (NVGE)

    Posted in ECCO News, ECCO Country Member Profiles, Volume 16, Issue 1