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News: Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program

VUMC researchers find a way to ‘starve’ cancer

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital nutrient glutamine.

Research sheds light on how microtubules are assembled

Friday, January 5th, 2018

James Goldenring, MD, PhD and colleagues have made a fundamental advance in understanding how microtubules are assembled. Their finding, published as an Editor’s Pick last month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, may lead to new ways to control cancer.

Researchers find novel mechanism of resistance to anti-cancer drugs

Friday, October 20th, 2017

The targeted anti-cancer therapies cetuximab and panitumumab are mainstays of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, many patients have tumors with genetic mutations that make them resistant to these anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies, or the cancers develop resistance during treatment.

Acid reflux cancer link

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Alexander Zaika, Ph.D. and coworkers show that DNA damage in the esophageal cells caused by acidic bile reflux (BA/A) activates enzymes called NADPH oxidases in the mitochondria, the cell’s power house, to release highly reactive-oxygen species (ROS).

Fatty acids and adenoma risk

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been associated with risk of colorectal cancer, with omega-6 PUFAs increasing and omega-3 PUFAs decreasing risk. Most studies, however, have relied on questionnaires to assess consumption of fatty acids, and results have been inconsistent. Harvey Murff, M.D., and colleagues have studied a blood-based biomarker of PUFA intake. […]

Early drivers of gastric cancer

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Gastric cancer – a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide – is commonly diagnosed at a late stage when most patients have a poor prognosis. Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues are exploring the molecular alterations that drive gastric carcinogenesis, to improve early detection, treatment and prevention. They previously showed that knocking out (eliminating) the […]

Kachnic named one of the ‘Women to Watch’ in health care

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Lisa Kachnic, M.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Radiation Oncology and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), has been named one of the “Women to Watch” in health care by Nashville Medical News. Lisa Kachnic, M.D. Kachnic is among 10 women in the Class of 2017 recognized by the health […]

PET imaging to predict tumor response

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

About 10 percent of patients with colorectal cancer express a mutated form of the signaling molecule BRAF, which may be targeted for treatment by selective BRAF inhibitors. PET (positron emission tomography) imaging using a standard glucose probe is not able to predict response to BRAF inhibitors. In addition to becoming dependent on glucose, cancer cells […]

Coffey lands major NCI award to support colorectal cancer research

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Vanderbilt’s Robert Coffey Jr., M.D., has received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — more than $6.6 million over seven years — to support studies aimed at advancing the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC), a leading cancer killer. Robert Coffey Jr., M.D. Coffey, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and […]

VUMC to Study Potential Approach to Reverse Precancerous Stomach Lesions

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) cancer researcher James Goldenring, M.D., Ph.D., has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation in Pleasantville, New York, to begin clinical trials of a potential approach for reversing precancerous stomach lesions. Stomach cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide after lung, liver and colorectal […]

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