News from the AGA

Strides in digestive cancer research: Two research projects to note


 

The AGA Research Foundation Research Awards Program includes two grants dedicated to digestive cancer research: the AGA–Caroline Craig Augustyn & Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer and the AGA–R. Robert & Sally Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer.

Continue reading to learn about the novel research projects being conducted by our 2018 digestive cancer grant recipients.

AGA–Caroline Craig Augustyn & Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer

Ravikanth Maddipati, MD

University of Pennsylvania Hospital System, Philadelphia

Dr. Maddipati’s research focuses on understanding and treating metastatic disease in pancreatic cancer. With this grant, Dr. Maddipati will use advanced lineage-traced mouse models and innovative bioengineering approaches to identify the molecular pathways involved in tumor cell cooperation and define the role of circulating tumor cell-clusters in pancreatic cancer progression. This work will lead to a noninvasive method for monitoring disease progression and response to treatment in pancreatic cancer patients.

AGA’s take: Pancreatic cancer, namely pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, is one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S. The AGA Research Foundation is pleased to fund Dr. Maddipati’s research. As a physician-scientist, he is in a unique position to translate findings from basic research, using preclinical models, to develop improved approaches to treating patients with pancreatic cancer.

AGA–R. Robert & Sally Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer

Jingwu Xie, PhD

Indiana University, Indianapolis

Dr. Xie’s research focuses on drug resistance in gastric cancer. His team recently had a monumental discovery — activated hedgehog signaling, via GLI1 and GLI2 gene up-regulation, is responsible for drug resistance in gastric cancer. Dr. Xie’s AGA-funded research will work to identify novel ways to sensitize gastric cancer cells to drug treatment by suppressing GLI1 and GLI2 activity.

AGA’s take: Gastric cancer is a very underfunded area of research in the U.S., and with limited treatment options for patients, there is a great need for novel research projects. The AGA Research Foundation is proud to fund Dr. Xie’s research, which we believe has the potential to translate into a new treatment that will improve outcomes for gastric cancer patients.

To see the full class of 2018 AGA Research Foundation awardees, visit the Meet Our Awardees section of our website, www.gastro.org/foundation-awardees.

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