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Penn collaborates on $8 million Barrett's esophagus research network
Date:11/3/2011

d bile acids in the upregulation of molecular pathways and stem/progenitor cells, and possible ways to target these cells for developing preventive and therapeutic treatments.

The Penn project members will bring to the network a large patient population and Barrett's inflammatory animal models. Three main projects comprise the network's goals:

  • Identify the role of Notch signaling proteins in animal models of Barrett's esophagus to determine the effects of Notch inhibition or Notch activation on progression to cancer.
  • Characterize the stem/progenitor cell of origin in Barrett's esophagus in mouse models. A pilot clinical trial using an antagonist of a G-protein coupled receptor expressed on stem/progenitor cells upregulated in the disease will be conducted to determine if regression of Barrett's esophagus occurs.
  • Identify novel biomarkers and gene signatures in Barrett's esophagus, correlating data sets from animal and human models to clarify which cells play the most important role in disease progression. A cohort of patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation for Barrett's esophagus will be assembled to identify biomarkers of response to therapy and to study the development of BE.

"Our novel preclinical models serve as the foundation for testing hypotheses, which are then brought ultimately to the clinic in a true translational 'bench-to-bedside' approach through biomarker, chemoprevention and therapeutic studies," says Rustgi.

The other subtype of esophageal cancer is esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), which is common worldwide. Penn investigators have a long-standing NCI-funded program project in this cancer, dating to 2003, funded to nearly $10 million every five years. This group's Principal Investigator is also Dr. Rustgi; other investigators include Penn researchers Dr. J. Alan Diehl, professor of Cancer Biology and director of cancer cell biology in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Ins
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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