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Case Western Reserve receives prestigious $5.4 million grant to study esophageal cancer
Date:10/11/2011

ting for more than one in 50 adult male cancer-related deaths. Though Barrett's esophagus, a precursor of esophageal cancer, can be easily recognized at endoscopy, current medical strategies of performing endoscopy based on the close association of Barrett's with chronic heartburn in adults are very inadequate. Nearly 40 percent of patients who develop esophageal cancer have no preceding symptoms of heartburn, and most people with heartburn never have endoscopy. Less than 5 percent of cancers are diagnosed at an early stage in patients whose Barrett's was recognized prior to cancer diagnosis.

The BETRNet will build upon Dr. Chak's work that has contributed to novel discoveries in the management of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, such as defining the role of endoscopic ultrasound in the management of esophageal adenocarcinoma, developing unsedated transnasal endoscopy as a method for Barrett's screening, defining the clinical syndrome of familial Barrett's esophagus and demonstrating that it has a genetic basis, and recently discovering a role for insulin and insulin-like growth factors as mediators of obesity-associated cancers.

The BETRNet projects include discovery of genes that cause familial Barrett's esophagus, those which become targets of DNA methylation in Barrett's and in esophageal cancers, and those that are either turned on or turned off in Barrett's esophagus and in esophageal cancers. The overall aims of the network are to develop new methods of identifying individuals at risk for Barrett's esophagus, early detection of Barrett's and esophageal cancers, and monitoring Barrett's esophagus to recognize when it is likely to progress to cancer.


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Contact: Jessica Studeny
jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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