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.