Gastroenterologist Anisa Shaker, MD, is leading research examining the interactions between gastrointestinal tissues in colon cancer and related colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Disruptions in gastrointestinal tissue interactions are increasingly implicated in the cause of IBD and colon cancer, which are often linked to one another. Researchers are using mouse models that closely mimic the colitis and colitis-associated cancer observed in humans.
To further understand the underlying mechanisms, they have isolated one particular type of tissue cell, the myofibroblast, which is thought to be involved in wound healing. Researchers are interested in the role of myofibroblasts in the progression of colorectal cancer related to IBD.
Research on cellular and molecular causes of IBD-related colon cancer may lead to the development of targeted therapies for this difficult-to-treat disease.