April 5, 2006
contact: Tom Capezzuto
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Researcher Seeks Participants for Clinical Trial to Trace
Early Stages of Colon Cancer in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis
NEW BRUNSWICK—A researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is seeking participants for a clinical trial to identify the presence of a specific protein associated with colon cancer, which will enable physicians to detect and treat colon cancer in its earliest stages and provide these patients and a drug that may improve survival.
The protein identified is an abnormal protein - TC22 - found specifically in colon cancer cells that can be taken from a biopsy during a routine colonoscopy, and possibly detected in a blood test. It allows physicians to recognize and identify the presence of this abnormal protein associated with a colon tumor and will alert them to a patient at risk of developing colon cancer, said Dr. Kiron M. Das, director of the Crohns and Colitis Center of New Jersey at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.
Procter and Gamble is sponsoring a clinical trial being conducted by Dr. Das to see if treatments of a drug known as mesalamine (Asacol) may reduce the risk of the development of colorectal cancer in patients by tracing the protein in patients who have chronic ulcerative colitis. The company has provided the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with a $875,000 grant for three years.
Colorectal cancer is the second largest cancer killer in the United States, and the most preventable of all cancers if detected early.
The presence of ulcerative colitis and polyps, usually a benign growth commonly found in the colon, are precursors to colorectal cancer. Colon cancer is almost completely preventable if men and women age 50 or older have a colonoscopy once every 10 years. However, in those with chronic ulcerative colitis, a colonoscopy should be performed every two years.
In instances where a polyp is found during a colonoscopy exam, it is removed and the tissue examined and laboratory tested for the presence of the TC22 protein associated with colon cancer. Early follow-up and a subsequent colonoscopy may determine if early surgery is needed.
Anyone who has a family history of colorectal cancer should begin colonoscopy screenings at age 40, or 10 years younger than the age of the youngest affected relative, whichever is earlier. Dr. Das is also investigating the presence of TC22 in blood and stool samples.
Dr. Das recommends that African-Americans begin screening at 45 because of the high incidence of colorectal cancer and a greater prevalence of cancerous polyps and lesions that often accompany them in the population. The risk of colon cancer increases with age, but it is most common after age 50. For further information, you may e-mail the American College of Gastroenterology at email@example.com, or call the American Cancer Society at (404) 320-3333.
To qualify for participation in Dr. Das’ study, patients must have ulcerative colitis. Those interested in participating in the clinical trial may call (732) 235-6105. To arrange an interview with Dr. Das, call Tom Capezzuto at (973) 972-7273.