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David Wang

Class 2003
Education MD, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Stephen Baylin

Current Position Assistant Professor

UT Southwestern Medicial Center

Research Interests

Sonic hedgehog in Barrett’s esophagus

Description: Esophageal cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer death worldwide. There are two major histologic subtypes: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Risk factors for developing squamous cell cancer include prior use of tobacco or alcohol, while the major risk factor for developing adenocarcinoma is chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease leading to Barrett’s esophagus (metaplasia of squamous epithelium to columnar epithelium). Recently, investigators here at Hopkins including members of our lab demonstrated that the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway is essential for growth of foregut tumors. We are investigating whether Shh activation leads to the development of Barrett’s esophagus and if so, whether it is sufficient for tissue metaplasia. Such a role for Shh would provide a potential preventative therapy for developing adenocarcinomas with cyclopamine, a pathway antagonist.