Welcome to the Katona Lab
Our lab and research program is an exciting, highly collaborative, and interdisciplinary program focused on gastrointestinal cancer and hereditary gastrointestinal cancer predisposition syndromes. Ongoing research activities in this area span the spectrum of basic science, translation studies, and clinical studies, and involve active collaborations across the Perelman School of Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center, and the University of Pennsylvania. Active research projects in our group, as detailed on the Research page, include understanding the biology of colorectal tumorigenesis through the use of mouse models and human-derived organoids, studying the role of the immune system in Lynch syndrome pathogenesis, implementation of early detection of pancreatic cancer in individuals at high-risk, investigating the role of the microbiome in colonic polyposis, and characterizing genetic susceptibility for gastric cancer.
Welcome to Michaela Dungan and Tasnim Eba, who both joined the group as Clinical Research Coordinators. Congratulations to Thomas Nyul who transitioned to a Research Specialist A in our group.
An exciting paper that our group contributed to was published in Nature, showing how beta-hydroxybutyrate suppressed colorectal cancer (Nature paper). To continue the exciting momentum in this area we opened a new clinical trial simultaneously with publication of the manuscript, that is the first study in humans to examine the the role of beta-hydroxybutyrate supplementation in colorectal cancer prevention (Clinical trial information).
Published in the February issue of Cancers is the first comprehensive review of upper gastrointestinal cancer surveillance in Lynch syndrome. Including data from our experience at Penn, current data is supportive of upper gastrointestinal cancer surveillance as an effective method to identify precancerous lesions and early-stage cancers in Lynch syndrome.
Welcome to Isabel Anez Bruzual, a Master's in Genetic Counseling graduate student, who joined our group and will be examining the perceived utility and psychological impact of pancreatic cancer screening in high-risk populations.
Published in the November issue of World Journal of Clinical Oncology, we report on the outcomes of screening for small bowel and urinary tract cancer in Lynch syndrome, showing that broad incorporation of these modalities into Lynch syndrome care is unlikely to helpful.
Welcome to Keely Beyries, who joined our group as a Research Specialist A, as well as Thomas Nyul who joined as a Student Researcher. Congratulations also to Taylor Hojnacki for her promotion to Research Specialist B.
This month, published in Cancer Prevention Research, we report our outcomes of pancreatic cancer surveillance in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, and ATM carriers, and illustrate that surveillance can be considered in these individuals at increased pancreatic cancer risk.