The Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program (GI) is a translational/clinical program within the Cancer Center. Since the inception of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the GI Program has evolved and grown from a program with a scientific focus on colorectal cancer to one that clinically encompasses all GI cancers and scientifically encompasses in-depth research initiatives in colorectal, gastroesophageal and pancreas cancers. The highlight of the colorectal cancer initiative remains the Specialized Project of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant now in its 13th year, still the only one focused exclusively on colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The highly successful gastroesophageal initiative has two active PO1 grants as well as multiple RO1 and other high impact grants. A foundation of this initiative is the better understanding of H. Pylori in the development of gastric cancer and the role of inflammation in malignant transformation. The pancreas initiative began at the time of the last CCSG renewal and has been growing rapidly with a bimonthly meeting to increase collaborative work among the pancreas cancer researchers at VICC. To help this initiative, the GI SPORE successfully competed its first pancreas cancer-specific Pilot Project Award and supported a retreat in 2014.
- Specific Aim 1: Elucidate the etiology and pathogenesis of gastrointestinal cancers
- Specific Aim 2: Develop biomarkers and imaging techniques to improve detection and predict efficacy of current and novel therapeutics for gastrointestinal cancers
- Specific Aim 3: Develop and study novel laboratory models of cancer to improve understanding of human cancers
- Specific Aim 4: Translate laboratory discoveries into clinical investigations
R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., F.A.C.S., John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Chairman of the Section of Surgical Sciences, Surgeon-in-Chief at Vanderbilt University and Deputy Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is serving as interim co-Director of GI Oncology. He holds joint appointments as professor in the departments of Cell and Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology. He also serves as Deputy Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Dr. Beauchamp has two active R01 grants from NCI, and is a co-leader of Project 3 in the GI Cancer SPORE. Dr. Beauchamp's primary area of research interest has been in colorectal carcinogenesis, the biology of cancer cell invasion and metastasis, and in the identification of novel molecular biomarkers and therapeutic targets in colorectal and other alimentary tract malignancies.
Jordan D. Berlin, M.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, remains the other co-director of the GI Program. He is a clinical-translational researcher in Medical Oncology, Director of Phase I Research and Principal Investigator of the recently awarded Lead Academic Participating Site grant for the National Clinical Trials Network as well as the Site PI for the ViKTriY Phase I UM1 grant (P. Lorusso, PI). Dr. Berlin is the co-PI of the GI Cancer SPORE and co-PI of project 2 of the GI SPORE. He served as Chair of the Intergroup Task Force on Pancreatic Cancer from 2006-2013 and has served on the program committee for the World GI Congress, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium and the World Conference on Interventional Oncology.