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Molecular Biology of Tumors of Digestive Organs

Cancer of the liver, pancreas, and GI tract is a major cause of excess morbidity and early mortality throughout the world. The factor(s) responsible for the initiation and promotion of neoplasia remain poorly understood. Dr. Barnard pursues fundamental questions regarding (1) regulation of mRNA and protein expression of selected candidate genes that appear to play a key role in GI human cancers; and (2) applying modern molecular biology techniques to the detection and staging of GI malignancies. Studies are done with human tissues and genes cloned from human tumor and normal tissues. The following studies are ongoing.

  1. Studying the regulation of selectively overexpressed or underexpressed gene products in GI tumors, isolated by subtractive hybridization or differential display techniques.
  2. Determining specific cytokine expression in microscopic sections of tumors and premalignant tissues (including hepatitis C, and inflammatory bowel disease) by microdissection of cell clusters and RT-PCR techniques.
  3. The application of PCR based techniques for increased sensitivity in the detection of tumors and their micrometastases.
  4. Testing prospectively the utility of a promising new serum marker of early colorectal cancer.

Selected Publications:

Mori M, Mimori K, Inoue H, Barnard GF, et al. Detection of cancer micrometasteses in lymph nodes by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Cancer Research 44:3417-3420, 1995.

Begum NA, Mori M, Matsumata T, Takenaka K, Sugimachi K, Barnard GF. Differential display and integrim alpha six overexpression in hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology 22:in press, 1995.

Barnard GF, Staniunas RJ, Puder M, Steele GD Jr, Chen LB. Human ribosomal protein L37 has motifs predicting serine/threonine phosphorylation and a zinc-finger domain. Biochimica Biophysica Acta 1218:425-428, 1994.

Barnard GF, Puder M, Begum NA, Chen LB. PCR product sequencing with [a-33P]-dATP and [a-32P]-dATP. Biotechniques 16:572-573, 1994.

Mori M, Staniunas RJ, Barnard GF, Jessup JM, Chen LB, Steele GD Jr. The significance of carbonic anhydrase expression in colorectal cancer. Gastroenterology 105:820-826, 1993.