-Surgery, Endocrine and Neuroendocrine Tumors Research Lab-
Principal Investigators


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Dr. Herbert Chen, M.D., F.A.C.S. Dr. Renata Jaskula-Sztul, Ph.D. Dr. J. Bart Rose, M.D., M.A.S.
 Professor & Chair (Surgery Dept.) Assistant Professor Assistant Professor
Dr. Chen, Dr. Jaskula-Sztul and Dr Rose's research focuses on the role of cellular signaling pathways in the differentiation and growth of neuroendocrine (NE) tumors of the thyroid, lungs and pancreas. NE tumors are the second most common cause of isolated hepatic metastases. These tumors often cause debilitating symptoms due to excessive hormonal secretion which characterize these NE lesions. Besides surgery, there are limited curative and palliative treatments available to patients with NE tumors, emphasizing the need for development of other forms of therapy. 

Dr Chen's primary focus is neuroendocrine tumor translational research. He has spearheaded several projects addressing plausible therapeutic techniques based on the laboratory findings. In addition to his active laboratory effort, Dr. Chen has numerous clinical studies involving patients with parathyroid, thyroid, and adrenal disease. His clinical area of expertise is the role of minimally invasive endocrine surgery techniques in the management of patient with hyperparathyroidism, thyroid nodules, and adrenal lesions. He has a large experience with minimally invasive radioguided parathyroidectomy (MIRP). Currently, Dr. Chen has multiple ongoing, multi-disciplinary, prospective clinical trials.

Dr. Jaskula Sztul has been working on multiple projects investigating the role of several small molecules in suppression of neuroendocrine cancers growth. In addition, she is investigating the tumor suppressor role of the Notch pathway in vitro and in vivo in medullary thyroid cancer. Most recently, she has also partnered with bioengineers to develop and test targeted therapies for neuroendocrine tumors via immunotherapy and nanoparticles (nanopolimers and unimolecular micelles) conjugated with anticancer drugs specifically targeting neuroendocrine tumor cells and tissues. It is hoped that the multi-functional nanoparticle therapeutics which she is innovating will provide safe, effective treatments that can either augment or supplant surgical operations in the treatment of neuroendocrine cancer.

Dr. Rose's research has been focused on identifying biomarkers and mechanisms of cancer development in the liver, pancreas and bile ducts. His previous work demonstrated the novel uses of established biomarkers in pancreatic cancer, was the first to report on the clinical utility of a bile based biomarker in patients with bile duct cancer. Currently, he is investigating new ways to treat neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas and GI tract by exploring the BORIS and Notch pathways. In addition, Dr Rose carries out clinical research on pancreatic cancer outcomes and surgical interventions.