CADC Research Grant Updates: Round Two

November 30, 2015

The Center for Advanced Digestive Care provides grant funding for pilot projects by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, its tri-institutional partners, and beyond. The CADC recently closed submissions for its fifth round of pilot funding.

Dr. Thomas J. Fahey and a team of researchers received funding in 2014 to evaluate mRNA expressions that contribute to metastasis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Their differential analysis compared a total of 16 localized and metastatic well-differentiated PNETs, which was an expansion of a previous study of such tumors. Several developments have come from this analysis thus far:

  • Published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, the research team confirmed decreased gene expression of UCHL1 (a potential tumor suppressor) in PNET samples, as well as hypermethylation of its promoter as a mechanism.
  • 533 genes were identified as being either upregulated or downregulated in metastatic PNETs. 222 of these were downregulated, and the other 311 were upregulated compared to localized primary tumors. Among these 533 significantly expressed genes, UHCL1 was confirmed to be significantly differently expressed and downregulated in metastatic tumors, which confirms the findings published in Annals of Surgical Oncology.

From this molecular profile, scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine can now identify the most differentially expressed genes between localized and metastatic tumors. The gene panel below is an example of a panel that will in the future be used to characterize the phenotype of PNETs.

fahey-gene-panel-1