Nav: Home

Keck School of Medicine of USC receives grant for esophageal cancer research

March 23, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has been awarded a $175,000 grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation and Price Family Foundation to support research aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of how gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Grant recipient Anisa Shaker, MD, assistant professor of medicine, is exploring how a certain type of cell called a myofibroblast controls inflammation, injury and repair in the esophagus.

"Myofibroblasts can be found throughout the digestive system, including the lining of the esophagus. We believe that they may play an important role in the development of esophageal cancer," Shaker said. "This grant will allow us to adapt myofibroblasts from patients with GERD into a 3-D model of the esophageal lining, which is where esophageal cancer begins."

GERD is a common disorder that affects up to one in five people in the United States. It occurs when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus and/or mouth over a prolonged period of time, which can sometimes cause tissue damage.

Having GERD can significantly increase a person's risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, the predominant type of esophageal cancer in the Western world. The risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma is almost eight times higher in patients with symptomatic GERD than in those who do not have GERD.

Esophageal adenocarcinoma primarily affects middle-aged or older adults and is more common in men than women. It is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage because there are usually no warning signs or symptoms early on.

"Esophageal adenocarcinoma is the fastest-growing lethal malignancy in the West," Shaker said. "There is an urgency to better understand how it occurs so that we can work toward preventing or curing it. The grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation and Price Family Foundation will help us get a step closer to achieving that goal."

The DeGregorio Family Foundation is dedicated to promoting research on esophageal and stomach cancer.

"Our hope with this grant is to spur collaboration among physician researchers that will advance their research goals and help them secure larger grants," Lynn Gregorio, president and founder of the DeGregorio Family Foundation, said.

Since 2006, the foundation has given $2 million in grants to researchers who have gone on to obtain an additional $11 million in National Institute of Health and Star Foundation grants.
-end-
ABOUT THE KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE OF USC

Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is among the nation's leaders in innovative patient care, scientific discovery, education, and community service. It is part of Keck Medicine of USC, the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. This includes the Keck Medical Center of USC, composed of the Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Norris Cancer Hospital. The two world-class, USC-owned hospitals are staffed by more than 500 physicians who are faculty at the Keck School. The school today has approximately 1,650 full-time faculty members and voluntary faculty of more than 2,400 physicians. These faculty direct the education of approximately 700 medical students and 1,000 students pursuing graduate and post-graduate degrees. The school trains more than 900 resident physicians in more than 50 specialty or subspecialty programs and is the largest educator of physicians practicing in Southern California. Together, the school's faculty and residents serve more than 1.5 million patients each year at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, as well as USC-affiliated hospitals Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. Keck School faculty also conduct research and teach at several research centers and institutes, including the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at USC, the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute, the USC Roski Eye Institute and the USC Institute of Urology.

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck School of Medicine among the Top 40 medical schools in the country.

For more information, go to keck.usc.edu.

For more information about the DeGregorio Family Foundation, go to www.degregorio.org.

University of Southern California - Health Sciences

Related Esophageal Cancer Articles:

Treatment improved overall survival in elderly patients with early-stage esophageal cancer
Elderly patients with early-stage esophageal cancer that received treatment had an increased 5-year overall survival when compared to patients who received observation with no treatment.
Keck School of Medicine of USC receives grant for esophageal cancer research
The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has been awarded a grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation and Price Family Foundation to support research aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of how gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Easier diagnosis of esophageal cancer
The Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging at Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen is heading the 'Hybrid optical and optoacoustic endoscope for esophageal tracking' (ESOTRAC) research project, in which engineers and physicians together develop a novel hybrid endoscopic instrument for early diagnosis and staging of esophageal cancer.
Study sheds light on esophageal cancer, offers insight into increasingly common disease
A comprehensive analysis of 559 esophageal and gastric cancer samples, collected from patients around the world, suggests the two main types of esophageal cancer differ markedly in their molecular characteristics and should be considered separate diseases.
Oral bacterium related esophageal cancer prognosis in Japanese patients
A type of bacterium usually found in the human mouth, Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum), has been found to be related to the prognosis of esophageal cancer in Japanese patients by researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan.
Presence of certain oral bacterium in esophageal cancer samples associated with shorter survival
Among Japanese patients with esophageal cancer, those whose cancer tested positive for DNA from the bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum had shorter cancer-specific survival compared with those whose cancer had no DNA from the bacterium.
Infrared light to detect early signs of esophageal cancer
Scientists have developed an endoscope that uses near-infrared light to spot early warning signs of esophageal -- food pipe -- cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics today.
Study opens door to targeted treatments for esophageal cancer
Scientists have discovered that esophageal cancer can be classified into three different subtypes, paving the way for testing targeted treatments tailored to patients' disease for the first time.
Fused genes found in esophageal cancer cells offer new clues on disease mechanisms
Now, researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have characterized structurally abnormal genes in esophageal adenocarcinoma, the findings of which could pave way for developing new biomarkers in this fatal disease.
Researchers discover gene variant associated with esophageal cancer
Researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center have discovered that a rare genetic mutation is associated with susceptibility to familial Barrett esophagus and esophageal cancer, according to a new study published in the July issue of JAMA Oncology.

Related Esophageal Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...