1989 represents the 100th anniversary of Reginald Fitz's initial characterization of acute pancreatitis. Our current understanding of this disease has advanced little beyond Fitz's early description. While survival from pancreatitis has improved largely through advancements in critical care techniques, no medical or surgical therapy exists that can limit pancreatic autodigestion and inflammation. Recent investigations have suggested that pancreatitis may result from a disruption of normal stimulus-secretion coupling within the acinar cell. Future research based on these observations may ultimately result in successful therapy for this disease.
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