David George Beer, Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery, Section of Thoracic Surgery
Professor of Radiation Oncology
Research Facilities: The Thoracic Surgery research laboratory is located in 6431 Cancer Center and includes a l,400 square foot laboratory completely equipped for state of the art molecular biological and cell biology investigations, tissue culture laboratory, as well as core equipment and the numerous computers for use in our research. Our cancer research is funded by multiple grants from NIH.
Current Research Projects: Genetic alterations in Barrett's metaplasia and human esophageal cancer. DNA from esophageal cancers is being examined to identify potentially novel regions of DNA which are either amplified or lost. A large number of interesting amplified and/or lost DNA sequences in both esophageal and lung adenocarcinomas have been identified. Amplified fragments have been cloned from esophageal adenocarcinomas and chromosomal localization of the amplified sequences using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) has revealed unique amplicons that results in the overexpression of important genes. Regions extensively analyzed resulted in the identification of the GATA-4 and GATA-6 transcription factors as amplified and overexpressed in esophageal adenocarcinomas.
Molecular Classification of Lung Cancer: Analysis of human stage I lung adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas utilizing cDNA array technology. Genes and proteins which are more predictive of clinical behavior than utilizing stage and thus provide a molecular classification for these tumors have been identified and are actively being investigated. This work was published in Nature Medicine 2002, 2008 and will potentially lead to a clinical trial to treat high risk stage I lung cancer patients. Additional recent publications in this project include: Raponi, et al, Cancer Research. Aug 1;66(15):7466-7472, 2006; Weir et al., Nature 2007., Ding Nature 2008.
Development of Early Detection Markers: In collaboration with other investigators from the University of Michigan. The research utilizes serum from lung cancer patients and the identification of tumor antigens. This work will aid in early detection as well as provide important biomarker for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Recent publications include: Chen et al, Cancer Research 2007 Apr 1;67(7):3461-7.
Expectations: Residents will be expected to be willing to develop an understanding of current molecular and biological research techniques and have an interest in esophageal and/or lung cancer. They will be involved in every aspect of a research project from hands on experimentation, data evaluation, manuscript preparation to presentation at national meetings. Weekly lab meetings and daily interactions with the principal investigator will ensure the experience is both productive and rewarding.
Key words: Thoracic, lung, esophagus, cancer