The University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute (UCCI) Gastrointestinal Cancer Center specializes in the treatment of cancers affecting the GI tract, including the stomach, pancreas, liver, large and small intestine, spleen, anus/rectum, gallbladder and peritoneal cavity. UC Health clinicians collaborate with UC basic scientists on translational research projects aimed at developing more effective treatment options for gastrointestinal cancers, driven by sound science.
Like all UC Cancer Institute-affiliated physicians, GI cancer specialists also serve as faculty members at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, giving them access to the latest scientifically validated medical information to help patients live healthier lives. They also serve as educators for the next generation of physicians in training and provide continuing education opportunities for community physicians.
Scientists within the center are pooling their expertise to identify challenges and to develop new approaches to gastrointestinal cancers. The group meets regularly to discuss common interests and plan new strategies for understanding these cancers and to identify and new ways to diagnose their cause to develop new strategies for treatment.
Specific expertise exists in:
- The study of metabolism autophagy (or cell death) pathways, DNA repair, and genomic instability in cancer development and progression.
- The role of the coagulation system in pathobiology of pancreatic cancer. Current work is focused on the contribution of alternatively spliced Tissue Factor (asTF) to growth and spread of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); researchers are exploring the utility of asTF as a prognostic and/or predictive biomarker, as well as a therapeutic target in PDAC.
- The study of mTOR inhibitors (a class of drugs that targets rapamycin, a protein kinase) and the relevance of autophagy in hepatocellular cancer (HCC) and in HCC stem cells.
- The study of metabolic changes in tumor cells treated with mTOR inhibitors and phenformin, an antidiabetic drug, and the relevance to autophagy and tumor growth.
- The study of the relationship between mitochondrial electron transport chain function and autophagy, leading to new therapeutic targets for cancer.
- The development of in vitro/in vivo models of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors using patient-derived xenografts, patient-derived cell lines and organoids.
- Preclinical studies of novel combination targeted therapies for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and for control of tumor-associated pathologies.
- Determining resistance mechanisms that arise during standard of care treatment for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.