TTUHSC El Paso Receives Grant to Establish New Gastroparesis Treatments

January 25, 2016

EL PASO, Texas - Gastroenterologists at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) have received a grant of nearly $470,000 to continue their research on gastroparesis, a condition that prevents the stomach from emptying properly.

Co-principal investigators Richard McCallum, M.D., and Irene Sarosiek, M.D., are studying the disease as part of the Gastroparesis Clinical Research Consortium (GpCRC), a national consortium that focuses on the cause of gastroparesis and therapies for the disorder. The two TTUHSC El Paso researchers will lead the effort locally within the Department of Internal Medicine.

Gastroparesis is an incurable disorder in which food moves through the stomach much slower than normal. The disorder affects more than 1.5 million Americans and symptoms include chronic nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In severe cases, a permanent feeding tube is required to ensure adequate nutrition.

TTUHSC El Paso investigators are conducting numerous studies on gastroparesis to pioneer new therapies and actually prevent the serious disorder. Their work includes potential new surgeries for difficult cases of gastroparesis, as well as a study on the genetic and immunological basis of the disease to better understand how it develops. The team is also creating a continuous glucose monitoring system and insulin pump; frequent blood glucose monitoring is important for those diagnosed with disease. McCallum and Sarosiek emphasize that their studies have enabled them to collect new and important data on a predominately underserved and undertreated population: Hispanics. The two hope the data will lead to a increased knowledge of how the disease particularly affects Hispanics.

The GpCRC is made up of multiple institutions, including Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, Temple University and TTUHSC El Paso. Its goal is to perform clinical, epidemiological and therapeutic research on gastroparesis and to provide an infrastructure that can rapidly and efficiently design and conduct clinical trials for effective interventions to improve diagnosis and treatment of patients. The grant is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which has supported the consortium for the last six years for its continuous success in studying the disease.
Additional TTUHSC El Paso collaborators participating in the project include surgeon Brian Davis, M.D., endocrinologist Tamis Bright, M.D., radiologist Jesus Diaz, M.D., bioscientists Daniel Terreros, M.D., Ph.D., and Olof Sundin, Ph.D., and pathologists Alireza Torabi, M.D., Ph.D., Dolgor Baatar, M.D., Ph.D., and Munmun Chattopadhyay, Ph.D.

Research director S. Connery, research coordinators Natalia Vega, Yvette Gomez, Anahi Quezada and Ben Alvarado, secretary Andrea Rios and associate chair for research Jerzy Sarosiek, M.D, Ph.D., will also assist throughout the project.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

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