Welcome, by Miguel Gassul

It is my pleasure to announce the forthcoming Congress of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) that will take place in Innsbruck, Austria from the 1st to the 3rd of March 2007. ECCO aims with this congress to gather all clinicians and scientists interested in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Europe and around the world.

During the congress, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying IBD will be discussed in the light of new findings and old dogmas will be revisited and challenged. Most clinicians treating IBD patients are convinced of the need for a more personalised management of our patients. We now try to do so with the tools available.
However the concept of personalised management has changed, and will do so even more in the future, with the adveniment of genetics, proteomics, and immunology as tools to better tailor the treatment of patients and to achieve longstanding remission and a good quality of life. A personalised management needs, with no doubt, understanding of the clinical problem and the underlying mechanism producing it, as well as the chances to respond to a given therapy. ECCO has taken the decision to implement these concepts and to put all their efforts into it.

Since ECCO also wants to be a forum for science related to IBD, free papers can be submitted to the congress. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and the best will be invited to be presented as oral communication, integrated in the congress sessions, whereas others will be presented as posters. It is ECCO's idea that the Poster Session has to be very (inter)active, and enough time for presentation and discussion will be given in a comfortable area and atmosphere.
Also during the ECCO Congress, the 5th IBD Intensive Advanced Course for Junior Gastroenterologists will take place. Students invited for this course will take part in the congress and will also be invited to very specific lectures and teaching especially designed for them. This course has gained a good reputation among fellow gastroenterologists due to the high interaction between the students and the professors.

Information about this course can be obtained at the National IBD Groups, the ECCO Secretary (e-mail: patricia.geens@imelda.be) or ECCO website (www.ecco-ibd.org). ECCO wants to welcome you at its Congress in Innsbruck, a city of art surrounded by impressive nature, and hopes to strengthen its ties with all scientists, clinicians, industry and organisations interested in IBD.

Miquel A. Gassull M.D., Ph.D. President of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation