The translation of new molecular understanding of disease into clinical practice in gastroenterology is a special challenge. The Falk Symposium No. 160, entitled 'Pathogenesis and Clinical Practice in Gastroenterology', held 15-16 June 2007 in Portoroz, Slovenia, provided a stimulating framework to bridge discussions from bench to bedside. The proceedings of the symposium are contained in this book, and the unifying theme is the growing understanding of inflammation as a driving force in chronic disease leading to disability and malignancy. Aspects of early detection - endoscopically or via molecular markers - are covered as well as in-depth discussions of the validation of new findings in clinical practice. Whilst on a molecular basis gastroenterologists and hepatologists try to shed light on the same intracellular pathways, clinical implications such as surveillance of cancer in IBD or chronic hepatitis with cirrhosis have to be tailored to specific needs. New therapeutic agents - approved or on the horizon of early clinical studies - will dramatically change the options of patients with chronic disease such as Crohn's disease, viral hepatitis or hepatocellular carcinoma.