Jefferson University Hospitals

Thomas Jefferson University Professor Awarded More Than $1 Million Grant by National Institutes of Health

09/22/11

Dr. Satish Rattan, an internationally renowned researcher and educator, and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Thomas Jefferson University, was recently awarded a grant for more than $1 million by National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his research on rectoanal motility disorders. These disorders include fecal incontinence, recurrent anal fissures and hemorrhoids, and Hirschsprung’s disease (a condition where nerves are missing from the end of the bowel).

“I am grateful to receive this grant and continue my research into rectoanal motility disorders,” says Dr. Rattan. “These disorders affect millions of people, and while numerous therapeutic and surgical modalities have been tried to treat the abnormalities, there are currently no satisfactory treatments available that are free of side effects. That is why research in this area is so important.”

Rectoanal motility disorders have been directly associated with the dysfunction of the internal anal sphincter (IAS) smooth muscle, according to Dr. Rattan. The IAS is unique smooth muscle in the body that remains spontaneously tonic and thus contributes to the rectoanal continence. He says for this reason research is expected to help physicians better understand the basic mechanisms that regulate the basal tone in the IAS.

Dr. Rattan’s laboratory has been pursuing studies to determine the factors that regulate basal tone in the IAS. His work has been funded by the NIH under the title, “Neurohumoral Control of Internal Anal Sphincter.” This grant is one of the longest continuously funded by NIH.

Over the years, Dr. Rattan’s laboratory has made major breakthroughs in the field. His team’s research recently garnered the cover of the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility with an illustration of distinct smooth muscle cells of the IAS. Dr. Rattan’s noted work will commence in January 2012 and will appear for the whole next year in the journal, as an honor for Dr. Rattan’s insightful work in the field.

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