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Early Cancer Institute

image of John Lizhe Zhuang

Congratulations to Dr John Lizhe Zhuang, Senior Research Associate in the Fitzgerald Lab, who has secured a Project Award in the March 2024 round of funding from ACED – Cancer Research UK’s International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection.

The purpose of ACED is to unite researchers in order to tackle the biggest challenges in cancer early detection.

In keeping with this bold ambition, John will collaborate with Dr Young Hwan Chang from OHSU and Dr Marnix Jansen of UCL on a project entitled: Mapping intestinal metaplasia progression across the upper gastrointestinal tract through a common precancer lens.

The team will investigate what drives the intestinal reprogramming in Barrett’s oesophagus and gastric intestinal metaplasia, and how they are related to cancers in the oesophagus and stomach. Using single-cell-derived organoid models and the Akoya PhenoCycler-Fusion recently procured by the Early Cancer Institute, they will dissect the metaplasia-dysplasia-adenocarcinoma process and study the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of the similar program but in different anatomic sites.

Together, they aim to shed light on the underlying biology of precancerous intestinal metaplasia and malignant development, providing a fundamental basis for unified strategies of prevention, screening, and therapy of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and gastric cancer.