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Research at Mass General
1. Epidemiology of colorectal adenoma and cancer. Our specific focus is on the prevention of colorectal adenoma and cancer using chemopreventative drugs and lifestyle interventions. Most recently, aspirin has emerged as promising agent for prevention of colorectal cancer. We have been conducting studies evaluating the optimal dose and duration of aspirin therapy, as well as defining potential populations that may preferentially benefit. We are also interested in genetic and biochemical markers that may be used to stratify risk of colorectal cancer for individuals, as well as predict responsiveness to various interventions. This work is also being extended into using epidemiological methods to understand the role of inflammation in colorectal cancer risk and prognosis.
2. Genetic epidemiology of colorectal cancer. We coordinate the Harvard cohorts in a national consortium of epidemiological studies of colorectal cancer which have assembled to conduct a large scale genome wide association study of colorectal cancer. A principal aim of the consortium is to investigate the interaction between known environmental risk factors for colorectal cancer and genetic risk loci.
3. Epidemiology of gastrointestinal bleeding. Our specific focus is on lifestyle risk factors for gastrointestinal bleeding, including intake of medications such as aspirin and NSAIDs. We are also examining the influence of genetic and biomarker risk factors for gastrointestinal bleeding.
4. Molecular imaging of colorectal neoplasia. In collaboration with biotechnology firms, we are working to clinically translate novel near infrared activatable agents that selectively target tumor-specific cathepsin proteases. We are interested in using these agents with fluorescent imaging endoscopy to enhance the detection of colorectal neoplasia.
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