Esophageal Cancer Research

The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center is leading the way in finding new therapies for esophageal squamous cell cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and Barrett’s esophagus. Our esophageal biology and cancer research has the highest NIH funding in the country, and our researchers are world-renowned experts dedicated to uncovering new ways to find and treat esophageal cancers. Highlights of our research program include: 

  • Dr. Anil Rustgi, overall PI of an NCI program project on esophageal cancer.
  •  Dr. Julian Abrams, overall PI of the NCI U54 BETRNet (Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network).

Esophageal Stem Cell Research 

  • Jianwen Que, MD, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Medicine

    The Que Lab focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells in the esophagus. 

  • Anil K Rustgi, MD

    • Professor of Medicine, Herbert and Florence Irving, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC)

    The Rustgi Lab elucidates how knowledge from their discoveries in mouse esophageal stem cells can be translated to human esophageal stem cells.

    Anil K. Rustgi, MD

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Research 

  • Dominique Bailey, MD

    • Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at CUMC

    With the Que laboratory, Dr. Bailey investigates mechanisms underlying pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), using mouse models and principles of developmental biology.  She translates these findings into pediatric EoE clinical trials. 

  • David A. Katzka, MD

    • Professor of Medicine at CUMC

    Dr. Katzka is a leading authority in adult EoE, from basic biology to innovative clinical trials. He works with collaborators across the country.

Barrett’s Esophagus (BE) Research

  • Julian Adin Abrams, MD

    • Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

    Dr. Julian Abrams studies the role of the microbiome in Barrett’s esophagus.

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  • Timothy Cragin Wang, MD

    • Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine

    Dr. Timothy Wang investigates the cell of origin of Barrett’s Esophagus.

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  • Jianwen Que, MD, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Medicine

    Dr. Jianwen Que investigates the cell of origin of Barrett’s Esophagus.

  • Anil K Rustgi, MD

    • Professor of Medicine, Herbert and Florence Irving, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC)

    Together with Dr. Joel T. Gabre, Dr. Anil K. Rustgi examines the Barrett’s esophagus microenvironment.

    Anil K. Rustgi, MD
  • Joel T. Gabre, MD

    • Instructor in Medicine at CUMC

    Together with Dr. Anil K. Rustgi, Dr. Joel T. Gabre examines the Barrett’s esophagus microenvironment.

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Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (ESCC) Research

Dr. Rustgi leads an NCI program project on esophageal cancer, involving Drs. Adam Bass, J. Alan Diehl (Case Western Cancer Center), Hiroshi Nakagawa and has 3 core facilities (Administrative/Biostatistics; 3D organoid/cell culture under Dr. Nakagawa; and Molecular Pathology).

Esophageal Cancer Epidemiology

  • Chin Hur, MD

    • Professor of Medicine

    The goal of the Hur Research Group is to utilize advanced quantitative methods and techniques to spur cancer care innovation and to provide comprehensive evaluation of new technologies or therapies. The Hur Research Groupd has developed a microsimulation policy model of esophageal cancer and published extensively using it to guide and optimize the prevention and management of this cancer. EACMo is also one of the simulation models in the National Cancer Institute’s CISNET comparative modeling consortium.

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Esophageal Cancer Functional Genomics and Therapeutics

  • Adam J Bass, MD

    • Professor of Medicine

    As the architect of the elucidation of the genomics of both esophageal and gastric cancers, Dr. Bass has been providing national prominence to the area of gastro-esophageal cancers. The Bass Lab brings together expertise in modern genomics, experimental/functional biology and translational medicine. Their overarching goal is to leverage the cancer genome to elucidate key biological processes and therapeutic vulnerabilities in these cancers. 

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Optimizing Radiation Treatments 

  • Simon K. Cheng, MD

    • Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at CUMC

    The Cheng Lab is evaluating how targeting a new cancer cell death pathway called ferroptosis, through either diet changes or medication, can make radiation more effective in esophagus cancers.

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  • Lisa Ann Kachnic, MD

    • Chu H. Chang Professor of Radiation Oncology
    • Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology

    Dr. Kachnic and her team evaluate how a new radiation delivery technology that leverages artificial intelligence can make radiation more effective as well as reduce chemoradiation-related side effects.

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