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Inflammation and the esophageal tumor microenvironment




Timothy Wang

Columbia University Medical Center

Umar Mahmood

Massachusetts General Hospital

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Project Abstract: Esophageal cancer is common worldwide and comprises two subtypes: esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Unfortunately, most patients present at late stages, thereby making survival rates low at less than 5% at 5 years. This grim prognosis mandates the utilization of innovative and unique genetically engineered mouse models developed by our research team to implement new strategies for functional genomics, prevention, imaging and therapy. The unique consortium involves long-standing collaborations and publications between recognized experts in the field of esophageal cancer from the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Massachusetts General Hospital. In particular, the Principal Investigators are Dr. Anil Rustgi (University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Timothy Wang (Columbia University) already within the NCI Tumor Microenvironment Network, and Dr. Umar Mahmood (Massachusetts General Hospital). The overarching goals of this U01 grant proposal are the following: (1) To utilize innovative models of esophageal cancer as a platform for elucidating the link between inflammation and cancer in the tumor microenvironment; and (2) To provide new approaches in the imaging of esophageal cancer for advances in translational medicine. These goals will be pursued through five interrelated Specific Aims that are trans-disciplinary and trans-institutional, and provide new We hope that the unique interrelated models developed by Drs. Rustgi and Wang may provide a new, future direction in tissue imaging of precancerous and cancerous lesions facilitated by the development of mouse upper endoscopy, non-invasive imaging technologies and molecular probes (tracking inflammatory/immune cells in the esophageal cancer microenvironment) by Dr. Umar Mahmood, which would have a great impact upon early detection of esophageal cancer in the human. In aggregate, this highly accomplished research team is poised to translate models of esophageal cancer into the eradication of human esophageal cancer, which would alter clinical approaches in the United States and worldwide. The proposed research is in concert with the recommendations by the NCI progress group report on upper Gl cancers, and the NCI Think Tank recommendations on the Tumor Microenvironment as well as Inflammation and Cancer.