New England Journal of Medicine publishes CWRU review of the 'molecular basis of colorectal cancer'

December 16, 2009

CLEVELAND -- December 16, 2009 -- Every year in the United States, 160,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed, and 57,000 patients die of the disease, making it the second leading cause of death from cancer among adults, after lung cancer.

As researchers and clinicians fervently look for causes and cures for colorectal cancer -- simultaneously generating thousands of studies producing more and more promising results - Dr. Sanford Markowitz, professor and researcher of cancer and genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and oncologist at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, today published his forward-looking view of the "Molecular Basis of Colorectal Cancer" in the Dec. 17, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, with co-author, Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

"Today's challenges are to understand the molecular basis of individual susceptibility to colorectal cancer and to determine factors that initiate the development of the tumor, drive its progression, and determine its responsiveness or resistance to antitumor agents," wrote Dr. Markowitz.

Key advances that the article singled out toward meeting these goals are:Dr. Markowitz and Bertagnolli's concluding observations are optimistic ones that the considerable recent and ongoing advances in our knowledge of the molecular basis of colorectal cancer will continue to result in markedly reducing the burden of this disease.

Dr. Markowitz reports being listed on patents licensed to Exact Sciences and LabCorp and is entitled to receive royalties on sales of products related to methylated vimentin DNA, in accordance with the policies of Case Western Reserve University. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
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About Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Eleven Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the school.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News and World Report "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine's primary affiliate is University Hospitals Case Medical Center and is additionally affiliated with MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002. http://casemed.case.edu.

Case Western Reserve University

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