Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Exposing and Confronting Destructive Chronic Inflammation in Acid Reflux (GERD)

Principal Investigator: Marie-Pier Tétreault, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD/acid reflux) affects over ¼ (up to 27 percent) of U.S. adults, resulting in more than 7 million patient visits annually. GERD leads to complications such as erosive esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer. Learning more about the molecular basis for the development and progression of GERD is critical to improving treatment options and decreasing the risks for these esophageal conditions. Dr. Tetreault is looking at the role of the crucial mediator of inflammation IKKβ in the development of chronic GERD. The team will use molecular approaches to shut down the expression of IKKβ and evaluate the impact of this loss on the development of GERD. This project will also employ a new technology called single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) that enables the rapid determination of the precise gene expression patterns of tens of thousands of individual cells. Employing scRNA-seq should help give greater insight into how IKKβ signaling impacts the regulation of the inflammatory process in chronic gastroesophageal reflux. Interrupting the disease process of GERD can crucially impact long term patient prognosis and risk of cancer.

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