Grants

We have created this section of our web site to inform our members of the status of Grants the Foundation has completed as well as the Grants that ECEF has made for the current year to various Institutions and Grants it is considering  during the coming year and beyond. The funds we receive from donations are earmaked to cover our commitment to these projects and support the Grants in Process.

We have displayed these Grants in the following categories:

GRANTS COMPLETED

Grants:

2004 $75,000 PAID

 CDROM Project

ECEF was established in 2003 with the main purpose at the time to raise the $75,000 that Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center deemed the cost to be to use its resources to establish a computer disk that people could use as a reference source if they were diagnosed with esophageal cancer. This CD ROM was completed in 2004 and it has been given to each esophageal cancer patient that has been so diagnosed at MSKCC. In addition this CD ROM is available on our web site as something you can request and ECEF will send that out to patients and caregivers who join ECEF at no cost to the person requesting it. It is ECEF’S intent not update this CD ROM since it is an expensive way of getting the message out about this disease. Instead we are awaiting MSKCC decision to place the contents of this CD updated on their web site. When this is done then ECEF will link to that file and have it available to ECEF members.

Grants:

2012 $1,800 PAID

Book Grant

ECEF decided to give Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center a $1,800 grant to cover the purchase of 100 books called 100 Questions & Anmswers About Esopjhageal Cancer to be distributed to patients who have been newly diagnosed with this disease.

 GRANTS IN PROCESS

PROJECT 1.   MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING CANCER CENTER

      BLOOD TEST TO DETECT ESOPHAGEAL CANCER

GRANTS:

2011 $50,000 PAID

2012 $50,000 PAID

2013 $50,000 PAID

2014 $50,000 GOAL

A prospective clinical trial to evaluate mesothelin as a biomarker for the clinical management of Barrett’s associated esophageal adenocarcinoma

Thoracic surgeons at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York have long focused on identifying markers of long-term prognosis in patients undergoing surgical resection for esophageal cancer. These efforts received a boost when Prasad Adusumilli, a thoracic surgeon-scientist at MSKCC observed that a protein is overexpressed in esophageal cancer cells in 3 out of 4 patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Most intriguingly, the protein expression is observed only when there is cancerous transformation in the Barrett’s esophagus (high grade dysplasia), and not expressed in low grade dysplasia or in acid reflux patients. This protein can be measured by a simple blood test. In fact, investigations revealed that more than two-thirds of esophageal cancer patients had elevated blood levels of the cancer-specific protein. Acknowledging ECEF support, this study results were published in the American Association for Cancer Research, AACR prestigious journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22237988) in March 2012.

Based on the above convincing data, Dr. Adusumilli’s team was awarded National Cancer Institute, NCI R-21 award (1R21CA164585-01A1) to prospectively investigate the utility of the blood test as a biomarker in the management of esophageal adenocarcinoma (http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=8386226&icde=14393855&ddparam=&ddvalue=&ddsub=&cr=2&csb=default&cs=ASC). This prospective clinical trial is now IRB approved, listed on clinical trials.gov (Principle Investigators: Nabil Rizk, Prasad Adusumilli) (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01393483?term=esophageal+cancer+mesothelin&rank=1). To date, with the excellent help of MSKCC Research Study Assistants, more than 200 patients are accrued to the study with 110 active patients. Currently, patients and families who are interested in participating in this clinical trial can contact us through the web site (http://www.fightec.org) or contact Dr. Adusumilli’s office (http://www.mskcc.org/prg/prg/bios/1029.cfm or Tel: 212 639 8093).

2013 Progress, 2014 Plans

Project 1: During 2013, we actively continued recruiting new patients and obtain blood for follow-up testing in patients that are already recruited. To date, more than 200 patients are recruited to the study with 110 active patients. We are now conducting interim analysis, we plan to follow-up each patient for at least 2 years with serum mesothelin test at every follow-up. In 2014, we will continue to accrue new patients and follow already recruited patients.

 

PROJECT 2. MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER

FLUORESCENT STAIN FOR ENDOSCOPIC EXAMINATIONS   

GRANTS:

2012 $30,000 PAID

2013 $30,000 PAID

2014 To be determined

 

Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is one of the most rapidly rising cancers in the United States today and carries a poor five-year survival rate (<15%) due to late diagnosis. EAC arises in a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus and progresses to cancer through an intermediate stage known as dysplasia. While this would seem to allow ample opportunity for early detection and intervention, the current standard of endoscopic surveillance of Barrett’s esophagus is inadequate and has been shown to miss up to 57% of early cancers.

Advanced endoscopic imaging technologies, such as confocal microendoscopy, have arisen as a way of improving endoscopic surveillance. Confocal microendoscopy relies on the use of fluorescent contrast agents to provide tissue contrast and 1100x magnified images of the esophageal lining. This technology gives endoscopist’s the remarkable ability to see and remove cancer at an early, treatable stage. The technology has revolutionized the way gastroenterologists screen the esophagus, allowing cancer (and precancer) to be detected when it is < 1-2 mm in size and easily removeable. Current confocal endoscopes rely on non-specific contrast agents such as IV fluorescein. Unfortunately, current agents do not target the molecular ‘footprint’ of esophageal cancer.

In our project, we proposed to develop and test novel, molecule-specific contrast agents to specific markers of cancer for use with confocal microendoscopes. We believe that such contrast agents can be used to highlight areas of pre-cancer or cancer (“molecular beacon”) during real-time endoscopic surveillance thus enhancing early detection efforts and facilitating minimally invasive therapy. In our current project, we have evaluated multiple patients with varying grades of disease. We have noted differences in both the intensity and pattern of fluorescent imaging with progression to cancer. We are now trying to develop a larger repository of images and better understand the patterns that develop as Barrett’s progresses to cancer.

PROJECT 3. MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING CANCER CENTER

 WIRELESS PULSE OXIMETRY TO PREVENT SURGICAL  LEAKS

GRANTS:

2013 $30,000 PAID

2014 $50,000 GOAL

 Real-time intraoperative detection of tissue oxygenation by Wireless Pulse Oximetry (WiPOX)

The most effective approach to date to treat esophageal cancer is to resect the esophagus and restore the continuity by anastomosing (joining) the stomach to the resected esophagus. Dehiscence or leakage from anastomotic sites following esophageal surgery occurs in one of six patients, and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Currently, following stomach mobilization, surgeons assess tissue viability and blood supply by simple visual inspection. Increasingly, esophageal operations are performed by minimally invasive techniques, which add complexity to the problem of assessing stomach oxygenation prior to the anastomosis.

Dr. Adusumilli, a thoracic surgeon-scientist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has motivated a group of senior bioengineering students at the City College of Bioengineering, New York to develop a handheld device that measures tissue oxygenation during surgery by use of a simple Wireless Pulse Oximeter (WiPOX). This device is validated in animal studies (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20972585) and is tested in a pilot trial at the MSKCC. The thoracic surgeons at MSKCC are utilizing this device in a prospective clinical trial (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01551433?term=wipox&rank=1) to measure tissue oxygenation in real-time ensuring the viability of surgical anastomoses, thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality of esophageal cancer operations. To date, with the excellent help of MSKCC Research Study Assistants, 100 patients are recruited to the study. Please contact us (http://www.fightec.org) if you are interested to learn more about this clinical trial or Dr. Adusumilli’s office (http://www.mskcc.org/prg/prg/bios/1029.cfm or Tel: 212 639 8093).

Project 3: This study accrued 100 patients to date, most of them recruited in 2013. We are now organizing the data for interim analysis. We will be perfecting the device in 2014 with the help of the bioengineers utilizing several observations that were made during 2013. In addition, we will be conducting preclinical studies in swine to test different iterations of the new device before testing in patients.