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New gut microbiome research to explore red meat -- colorectal cancer pathway

Bethesda, MD (May 18, 2013) The AGA Research Foundation announced a new grant that intends to stimulate research into the relationship between the gut microbiota, one of today's most exciting areas of science, and digestive health and disease.

The AGA Research Awards Panel selected Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH and his colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, as the 2013 AGA-Elsevier Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award recipient. Dr. Chan will receive $25,000 of funding, commencing in July 2013, to test the overarching hypothesis that long-term dietary factors are associated with specific microbes and genes associated with colorectal cancer.

"The gut microbiome offers myriad possibilities to GI basic and translational researchers, clinicians, and patients," said Nicholas F. LaRusso, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA Research Foundation. "This award highlights the AGA's commitment to furthering research in this area. We congratulate Dr. Chan and his group on winning this award and we look forward to seeing the new data he uncovers through his novel research project."

Dr. Chan's pilot program will aim to associate dietary factors and environmental characteristics with the gut microbiome on a population scale. Dr. Chan and his research team will apply cutting-edge microbial profiling methods on fecal samples collected from individuals in the community to examine the impact of red meat intake on gut microbes and their byproducts, which in turn may influence biological pathways associated with colorectal cancer and other digestive diseases. The researchers anticipate that the results of this pilot study will lead to several additional follow-up studies that will form the basis of more substantial grant applications.

This award aligns with the AGA Governing Board's mission to make the gut microbiome an important priority for gastroenterology and the organization. In March 2013, the AGA announced the creation of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education whose mission is "to advance research and education on the gut microbiome in human health and disease." Digestive Disease Week 2013 also places an increased emphasis on the potential of gut microbiome research through numerous invited speaker sessions and oral research abstracts and more than 130 related poster presentations. To learn more about the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education, visit


Contact: Rachel Steigerwald
American Gastroenterological Association

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