Research led by Dr. Mark Bloomston focuses on microRNA expression and function in pancreatic and esophageal cancers. Human samples are collected from the OSU operating rooms as well as received from the Cooperative Human Tissue Network under an IRB-approved protocol. These tissues form the basis of looking at microRNA expression profiles in malignant and premalignant lesions. Early work has identified interesting microRNAs in pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Studies are now focusing on several interesting microRNAs to identify how they are dysregulated and what their mechanisms of action are. This work has provided the background data that has led to several grants, including a K12, a competitive grant from the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, and the Society of University Surgeons.
Clinical research is quite active and includes management of several surgical databases. These include neuroendocrine tumors, periampullary cancers, liver cancers, gastric cancers, esophageal cancers, appendiceal cancers, and peritoneal malignancies. These databases are linked to tissue microarrays created in conjunction with the Department of Pathology. This collaboration allows for translational research to determine clinicopathologic correlations with proteins of interest in these cancers. Management of these databases also provides fertile ground for outcomes research that is undertaken by residents and fellows. Clinical trials focus on pancreatic cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Early lab work on the global microRNA expression profile in pancreatic cancer was published in JAMA. The impact of this sentinel article was noted in several regional and national news reports, including CNN and NCI news. This data provided the basis for obtaining funding via the K12 mechanism which resulted in several national publications and peer-reviewed publications. As a result, the lab has received NIH funding for the next two years via the TL1 mechanism as part of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.