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Ongoing Research in Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Researchers examine every facet of the digestive system to find better ways to treat illnesses and conditions that originate in the gastrointestinal system, liver and pancreas.

Research Laboratories

  • Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer Laboratory

    The goal of the lab's research is to identify molecular abnormalities that can improve the outcome of patients with pancreatic cancer and those at risk of developing this disease. Much of our work is focused on translational research evaluating markers and marker technologies that can help screen patients with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

    Thus, marker efforts have been focused mostly on identifying markers of advanced precancerous neoplasia (PanINs and IPMNs) that could improve our ability to effectively screen patients at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. We lead or participate in a number of clinical research protocols involved in the screening and early detection of pancreatic neoplasia including the CAPS clinical trials. We maintain a large repository of specimens from cases and controls with and without pancreatic disease and use this repository to investigate candidate markers of pancreatic cancer for their utility to predict pancreatic cancer risk.
    ...
    In addition, we have been working to identify familial pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes and identified BRCA2 as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene in 1996. We participate in the PACGENE consortium and the familial pancreatic cancer sequencing initiative. My lab also investigates pancreatic cancer genetics, epigenetics, molecular pathology, tumor stromal interactions and functional analysis of candidate genes and miRNAs. Dr. Goggins is the principal investigator of a phase I/II clinical trial evaluating the Parp inhibitor, olaparib along with irinotecan and cisplatin for patients with pancreatic cancer.
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    Research Areas: pancreatic cancer

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Michael Goggins, M.B.B.Ch., M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • GI Early Detection Biomarkers Lab

    Dr. Meltzer is an internationally renowned leader in the molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal malignancy and premalignancy. He invented molecular methods to detect loss of heterozygosity in tiny biopsies, triggering an avalanche of research on precancerous lesions. He was the first to comprehensively study coding region microsatellite instability, leading to the identification of several important tumor suppressor genes. He performed several groundbreaking genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic studies of esophageal and colonic neoplasms, shifting the GI research paradigm toward genome-wide approaches. He directed an ambitious nationwide validation study of DNA methylation-based biomarkers for the prediction of neoplastic progression in Barrett’s esophagus.

    Dr. Meltzer founded and led the Aerodigestive Cancer and Biomarker Interdisciplinary Programs at the University of Maryland, also becoming associate director for core sciences at that school’s Cancer Center. He currently hol...ds an endowed professorship and is the director of GI biomarker research at Johns Hopkins.

    The laboratory group focuses its efforts on the molecular genetics of gastrointestinal cancers and premalignant lesions, as well as on translational research to improve early detection, prognostic evaluation, and treatment of these conditions. Below, some examples of this work are described.
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    Research Areas: gastrointestinal cancer, gastrointestinal

    Principal Investigator

    Stephen Meltzer, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

Recent Studies

 

Intestinal Chloride Secretion

Researchers are studying the role of calcium-activated Cl channels in intestinal chloride secretion and determining whether the recently identified transmembrane protein 16 family of proteins is also involved in intestinal chloride secretion with a goal of providing background information for the development of drugs to treat diarrhea, constipation and cystic fibrosis.

Read more about Intestinal Chloride Secretion