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Digestive Diseases

Basic and Clinical Research in Digestive Diseases

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Basic research efforts taking place in the laboratories of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College are helping identify the etiology of digestive diseases at the molecular level. In addition, clinical and technology-based research is readily applied to patient care. Our nationally and internationally prominent researchers have interests that span the spectrum of digestive disease specialties.

Celiac Disease

  • The relationship of celiac disease to the development of osteoporosis
  • Immunological mechanisms of small intestine damage
  • As a risk factor for autoimmune peripheral neuropathy or cancer
  • Association to seizures in children
  • Identification of genes responsible for celiac disease

Colon Cancer

  • Agents that may prevent the development of colon polyps
  • Etiology of adenomas and colon cancer
  • Use of immune system-stimulating agent in surgical patients
  • Use of tumor vaccines in patients with advanced disease
  • Investigation of IGFBP-3, a serum protein that may prove useful as a unique chemotherapeutic agent
  • Relationship of bile acids and colon cancer
  • Genetic causes of colon cancer
  • Investigation and evaluation of novel mechanisms of action of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil to understand how dietary factors influence the prevention of colorectal cancer

Colonoscopy

  • Assessing colonoscopy stimulators as tools for teaching endoscopy methods to doctors in training
  • Evaluating a new tool that informs the endoscopist of the precise location of the scope's tip and shaft

Esophageal Disorders

  • Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, including the development of experimental models for studying causal factors of these conditions and the role of a selective Cox-2 inhibitor in prevention

Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Cox-2 inhibitors in gastrointestinal solid tumor experimental models
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, including the role of serotonin in controlling bowel behavior as well as molecular and cellular mechanisms of the disorder
  • Genetic factors in digestive diseases
  • Pathogenesis of gastrointestinal inflammation and gastrointestinal cancer
  • Cancer treatment in the elderly

Liver Disease

  • Use of gene vectors to deliver chemotherapy to hepatic metastases
  • Hepatitis C, including factors that lead to cirrhosis, patients with co-infection (hepatitis C and HIV), and antiviral therapy
  • Novel approaches to preserving the liver for liver transplantation

Pancreatic Disease

  • Optimizing radiation treatment of pancreatic cancer using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Genetic predisposition to pancreatic cancer

Prevention

  • Natural substances, including derivatives and extracts from green tea, that may play a role in chemoprevention
  • Nutrogenomics, the study of how nutrients can interact with the human genome to alter the expression of genes implicated in disease (using Cox-2 as a prototype)
  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the prevention of intestinal tumors

Surgery-Related Studies

  • The use of intraoperative hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy and surgical debulking in the treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis from gastrointestinal malignancies
  • The effect of surgery on the immune system and preserving immune function through laparoscopic techniques
  • Development of tumor vaccines to stimulate immune system function prior to surgery to lower the risk of tumor recurrence
  • The use of new technologies, including robotics, for performing surgery
  • Physiologic, oncologic, and immunologic consequences of abdominal surgery
  • Methods for prevention of postoperative immunosuppression and tumor growth

In addition, the Hospital continues to expand its databases for clinical investigation in Barrett's esophagus, familial adenoma polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and hepatobiliary cancers.

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