The ultimate goal of our research is to understand the role of digestive hormones in health and disease and to allow better treatment of patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
The Gastrointestinal Cell Biology Section is involved in research studying the cellular basis of action of gastrointestinal (GI) hormones (primarily bombesin-related peptides, gastrin-releasing peptide, neuromedin B, CCK-related peptides, and VIP secretin-related peptides) and clinical and laboratory studies on human gastric acid hypersecretory states such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
The studies on GI hormones involve intracellular signaling cascades, especially tyrosine phosphorylation (primarily CCK, bombesin), molecular pharmacology of their receptors (especially bombesin-related peptides), and structure-function studies of various receptor ligands to develop selective agonists and antagonists. In addition, we are conducting studies on characterizing the bombesin-related receptor, BRS-3, as well as developing ligands to deliver receptor-specific chemotherapy to tumors ectopically expressing these receptors.
Studies of patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome involve clinical studies of the diagnosis, localization, and treatment of the gastrinoma and of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, which occurs in a portion of the patients. Laboratory studies involve the characterization of the molecular pathogenesis of gastrinomas and identification of useful prognostic factors.
Applying our Research
These studies will lead to insights that will help in the treatment of patients with GI disorders or with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.