Protein’s Impact on Colorectal Cancer is Dappled

In early stages, it acts as tumor suppressor; later it can help spread disease —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a cell signaling pathway that appears to exert some control over initiation and progression of colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. A key protein in the pathway also appears to be predictive of cancer survival rates. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta GhoshThe study’s senior author is Pradipta Ghosh, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

New Biomarkers Might Help Personalize Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Low levels of two genes predicts positive response to chemotherapy and longer survival times —

Metastatic colorectal cancer patients tend to live longer when they respond to the first line of chemotherapy their doctors recommend. To better predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy drugs before they begin treatment, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conducted a proof-of-principle study with a small group of metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The results, published June 17 in PLOS ONE, revealed two genes that could help physicians make more informed treatment decisions for patients with this disease. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Senior author of the study is Department of Medicine oncologist Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Fanta is a researcher in the Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Read the article in PLOS ONE (Open Access)

Researchers Find Link Between Inflammation, Tissue Regeneration and Wound Repair Response

Discovery has implications for potential new treatments of some cancers and inflammatory bowel disease —

Almost all injuries, even minor skin scratches, trigger an inflammatory response, which provides protection against invading microbes but also turns on regenerative signals needed for healing and injury repair – a process that is generally understood but remains mysterious in its particulars.

Writing in the February 25 online issue of Nature, an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report finding new links between inflammation and regeneration: signaling pathways that are activated by a receptor protein called gp130.. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. William SandbornStudy coinvestigators included Division of Gastroenterology division chief William Sandborn, MD, and Inflammatory Disease Center researchers Brigid S. Boland and John T. Chang.

Other Department of Medicine coauthors included Petrus R. de Jong; and Samuel B. Ho, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Section Chief, Gastroenterology, at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Full text of the article (UC San Diego only)

Pepper and Halt: Spicy Chemical May Inhibit Gut Tumors

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, triggering a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors.

The findings are published in the August 1, 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical InvestigationRead the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Eyal Raz, MD

Eyal Raz, MD

Senior author of the study is Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Lars Eckmann

Lars Eckmann, MD

Department of Medicine faculty coauthors include Lars Eckmann, MD, right, professor of medicine, and Hui Dong, MD, PhD, associate professor, both in the Division of Gastroenterology; and Maripat Corr, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

Maripat Corr, MD

Maripat Corr, MD

Blacks Have Less Access to Cancer Specialists, Treatment

UC San Diego Study Suggests Racial Inequality Leads to Higher Mortality

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say metastatic colorectal cancer patients of African-American descent are less likely to be seen by cancer specialists or receive cancer treatments. This difference in treatment explains a large part of the 15 percent higher mortality experienced by African-American patients than non-Hispanic white patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Department of Medicine co-investigators on the project are Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology; Gregory Heestand, MD, Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS  Gregory Heestand, MD  Paul Fanta, MD, MS
Above, from left: Drs. Samir Gupta, Gregory Heestand, and Paul Fanta

Citation for the study report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Daniel R. Simpson, María Elena Martínez, Samir Gupta, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Loren K. Mell, Gregory Heestand, Paul Fanta, Sonia Ramamoorthy, Quynh-Thu Le, and James D. Murphy. Racial Disparity in Consultation, Treatment, and the Impact on Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst first published online November 14, 2013 doi:10.1093/jnci/djt318  |  Full text (UCSD only)

Non-Invasive Test Optimizes Colon Cancer Screening Rates

Underserved populations need options for colorectal cancer screening if screening rates are to be improved, study finds

Organized mailing campaigns could substantially increase colorectal cancer screening among uninsured patients, a study published in the August 5 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine reveals. The research also suggests that a non-invasive colorectal screening approach, such as a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) might be more effective in promoting participation in potentially life-saving colon cancer screening among underserved populations than a colonoscopy, a more expensive and invasive procedure. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Samir GuptaLead investigator in the study was Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Gupta specializes in screening for and preventing colorectal cancer and polyps.

Before he joined the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine faculty in January 2013, Gupta was assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was a National Institutes of Health KL2 Clinical Scholar there from 2007 to 2010, earning his Masters of Science in Clinical Science (MSCS) degree.

Gupta sees patients at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and UC San Diego Health System.

Citation for the study report: Gupta S, Halm EA, Rockey DC, et al. Comparative Effectiveness of Fecal Immunochemical Test Outreach, Colonoscopy Outreach, and Usual Care for Boosting Colorectal Cancer Screening Among the Underserved: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():-. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.9294. |  Full text (UCSD only)

More Information:

  • Gupta’s academic profile
  • Gupta’s clinical profile
  • JAMA Network Author Video: Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, discusses Comparative Effectiveness of Fecal Immunochemical Test Outreach, Colonoscopy Outreach, and Usual Care for Boosting Colorectal Cancer Screening Among the Underserved: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  |  Watch video  (UCSD only)
  • Gupta is an organizer and speaker at the UCSD Division of Gastroenterology’s 7th Annual Research Symposium on Malignancies of the Digestive System  |  Details