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Research Target
Gastritis & Gastric Cancer

Discoveries in the past decade have determined that most gastric cancer is caused by a bacterium called H. pylori that induces chronic inflammation of the stomach (gastritis). Gastritis patients from certain geographic areas are more prone to developing cancer of the stomach. The environmental or genetic reasons for this predilection are not clear, but investigators at UW Medicine are studying these changes in the stomach to discover why they occur.

Working to Identify High-Risk Patients

The presence of these bacteria is now easier to detect because of special staining procedures developed by a gastrointestinal pathologist at the UW. Efforts are under way to develop blood tests that can distinguish which patients with the bacteria are at greater risk for pre-cancerous changes—and thus require surveillance. UW researchers are developing microarray gene probes to identify H. pylori species that are pathogenic and will lead to chronic inflammation and eventually cancer.

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