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UPenn Researcher Wins $250K Grant to Define CTNNA1-Related Gastric Cancer Risks

NEW YORK – The DeGregorio Family Foundation has awarded $250,000 to Bryson Katona, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Program at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine to study how changes in the CTNNA1 gene contribute to gastric cancer growth and risk.

CTNNA1 has recently been shown to associate with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome, but data on the gene is limited. HDGC is the leading cause of familial gastric cancer, contributing to a significantly higher risk for these cancers.

Katona intends to estimate cancer risks based on information he and his team will collect from families around the world who carry a CTNNA1 gene variant.

The team will also use 3D gastric organoids to study how CTNNA1 changes might affect gastric cancer growth.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be selected as a recipient of the DeGregorio Family Foundation Grant Award," Katona said in a statement. "This award will be instrumental in advancing our understanding of the hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome risk gene CTNNA1, which will help inform future clinical care as well as cancer risk reduction strategies for CTNNA1 carriers." 

The DeGregorio Family Foundation has raised over $5 million in support of research into gastric and esophageal cancers since its founding in 2006.