Dr. Papagerakis has taken leadership of the Laboratory of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Metastasis within the Otolaryngology Department and is an active investigator of the Head and Neck Cancer SPORE, the UM Cancer Center and the Head and Neck Oncology Group. She is a MD with clinical trainng in oral, maxillofacial surgery and a PhD in oral, head and neck molecular pathobiology. She has a broad background in head and neck tumorigenesis, with specific training and expertise in key research areas for this application. She has an established research record in prognostic/predictive biomarkers of clinical outcome and response to therapy; her work has received national and international recognitions.
The use of antacids as anticancer agents is a new approach that holds great promise for cancer patients. This is the first population-based longitudinal study that evaluates a novel and interesting link between the biology of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and antacid medications. This project is proposed to:
1. examine the potential therapeutic benefit of the two classes of antacid drugs (histamine receptor-2 antagonists, H2RA, and proton pump inhibitors, PPIs), commonly and chronically used in cancer patients, in a large cohort (14 millions patients) through collaboration with the Department of Ophthalmology/School of Public Health (Dr. Dave Musch)
2. explore the mechanism of action of the antacids as anticancer agents on pathway modulation, tumor progression and metastatic dissemination; we seek to develop a point-in-care diagnostic biochip to monitor the antacids effects in HNSCC patients through collaboration with the College of Engineering - Biomedical Engineering (Dr. Nicholas Chronis)
It is unknown if these classes of common medications might have anticancer effects that could be effective as long term chemopreventive agents. Our recent retrospective epidemiologic data in patients with HNSCC is the first to unveil a significant survival benefit of antacids clinical use in HNSCC patients, suggesting that such agents might be useful in cancer prevention. Our hypothesis is that antacid medications may have anti-cancer effects that influence HNSCC patient outcome. Our preliminary data is strong and promising suggesting that antacid drugs enhance cancer survival by modulating endothelium adhesion of cancer cells and certain cytokines that have been implicated in aggressive tumor behavior, and thus resulting in diminished cancer metastatic potential.
We believe that this research will help guide future novel chemoprevention interventions for the treatment of HNSCC that can be applied to any cancer patient. Given the promise of antacids as anti-cancer agents, this study will provide supportive evidence for a safe and effective chemopreventive approach with multi-target effects and multi-facets benefits (reversing drug resistance and increasing the uptake of standard anti-tumor therapies chemo- and radiation, while alleviating their adverse effects), and thus improving patients outcome and survival. Prior attempts at developing effective prevention strategies with low toxicity in HNSCC patients have been unsuccessful. The combination of an epidemiological study with clinically-relevant mechanistic studies provides synergistic significance and a comprehensive support for a novel therapeutic approach in HNSCC that could be readily translated into clinical benefit. The outcome of this research will result in a series of focused clinical trials to further evaluate these novel therapeutic concepts, which can be applied to cancer patients in general.
Papagerakis et. al 2012: Novel therapeutic benefit of proton pump inhibitors and histamine 2 blockers on overall survival in patients with head and neck squamous carcinoma. 8th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer.
Papagerakis et al, 2012: Anticancer effects of histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RA) in head and neck squamous carcinoma. 8th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer.