Understanding the Genetic and Cellular Origins of Carcinoid Cancer
Researcher: Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD Location: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute State: Massachusetts Year: 2005 Status: Finished
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To understand the genetic and cellular origins of carcinoid cancer.
Dr. Shivdasani’s research focuses on the mechanisms of cell differentiation for carcinoid and other cancers. Dr. Shivdasani runs a molecular biology laboratory at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and recently spearheaded the creation of the Translational Research Laboratory in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center.
With a research grant from the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, Dr. Shivdasani is focusing on understanding carcinoid at the level of the target cell. Dr. Shivdasani is determining, for example, what makes gastrointestinal cells in the first place and what drives their specific differentiation toward enteroendocrine cells, the type present in carcinoid tumors. Specifically, Dr. Shivdasani is pursuing four lines of carcinoid research:
Investigating the biology of the gastrointestinal cell type that dominates in carcinoid tumors
Mapping all chromosomal abnormalities that characterize gastrointestinal neuroendocrine malignances and integrating that information with genes that are significantly dysregulated in this class of tumors
Analyzing the results within the larger context of interrelated cell activity to create a conceptual framework that integrates genetics with tumor and normal cell biology
Evaluating specific hypotheses in rigorous and physiologically relevant experimental models
This research will help Dr. Shivdasani decode the rules that govern the fates of different categories of gastrointestinal cells, specifically neuroendocrine cells. Dr. Shivdasani’s goal is to discover the key pathways of carcinoid cells. This missing piece of the carcinoid puzzle should unlock a new platform from which to launch an investigation into new therapeutic targets and test selected targeted therapies.
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