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The AGA Foundation awards grant to Dr. Michael Choi to further his research on carcinoid tumors

Bethesda, MD (June 25, 2009) The AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) has named Michael Y. Choi , MD, the first recipient of the Mary Terese Hartzheim Award for Neuroendocrine Tumor Research. This new research award was created for young investigators interested in researching carcinoid or neuroendocrine tumors. Dr. Choi is an investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston. He was previously named an AGA Foundation Research Scholar Award recipient in 2005.

"We are pleased to be working with the Mary Terese Hartzheim (MTH) Foundation and Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF) to fund this grant for individuals who show promise in researching the development, diagnosis and treatment of carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors," said Sidney Cohen, MD, AGAF, chairman of the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition. "The AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition helps fund gifted scholars to enable them to begin and/or maintain their research programs. We are especially pleased when previous grant recipients continue their work and qualify for additional funding to further their research."

The five-year survival rate for intestinal carcinoids in the U.S. between 1973 and 2002 has remained at 60 percent. This lack of improvement in treatment success is largely due to incomplete understanding of the biology behind both neuroendocrine tumors and the corresponding neuroendocrine cells. Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing cancers that usually start in the lining of the digestive tract or in the lungs. Because they grow slowly and often do not produce symptoms in the early stages, the average age of people diagnosed with digestive or lung carcinoids is about 60. Surgery is the main treatment for carcinoid tumors; if they haven't spread to other parts of the body, surgery can cure the cancer.

The Mary Terese Hartzheim Award for Neuroendocrine Tumor Research provides $75,000 per year for two years (total $150,000) to a junior investigator who will make meaningful contributions to understanding the biology of carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors and/or the development of novel therapeutic approaches to this group of diseases. The award's objective is to expand interest and expertise in this specific field of research at academic medical institutions, and to attract new scientists who may not have previously worked in this area.


Contact: Aimee Frank
American Gastroenterological Association

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