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

June 25, 2009

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.
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This award is funded by the Mary Terese Hartzheim (MTH) Foundation and Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF).

About the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition

The Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) is the foundation of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The Foundation's ultimate mission mirrors that of the AGA: to improve the human condition through understanding, preventing, diagnosing and curing digestive diseases. The Foundation raises funds for research and public education. Donors to the Foundation include AGA physicians, patients and family members of those who suffer from digestive diseases, national foundations and the pharmaceutical industry. For more information, visit www.fdhn.org.

About the American Gastroenterological Association

The AGA is dedicated to the mission of advancing the science and practice of gastroenterology. Founded in 1897, the AGA is one of the oldest medical-specialty societies in the U.S. The AGA's more than 17,000 members include physicians and scientists who research, diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. For more information, visit www.gastro.org.

About the MTH Foundation

The MTH Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to fulfilling the life pursuits and dreams of Mary Terese Hartzheim. We will carry out this mission by funding cancer research and related programs, by supporting the educational and athletic endeavors of young people, and by favorably affecting the lives of those less fortunate. For more information please visit: www.mthfoundation.org.

About the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF)

The mission of the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation (CFCF) is to discover a cure for carcinoid and related neuroendocrine tumors (NETS). CFCF also works to eliminate the suffering of patients, families, and caregivers affected by NETs. To achieve rapid discovery of a cure, CFCF directs 100 percent of all individual donations to fund breakthrough scientific research of carcinoid and related NETs. This is made possible by the generous support of its Board of Directors and corporate sponsors. For more information on CFCF's researchers' scientific work or supportive resources for patients, please visit CFCF's website: www.caringforcarcinoid.org.

American Gastroenterological Association

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