Cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are common and are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Why do some individuals develop such tumours whereas most people do not? Many GI tumours are associated with chronic inflammation and infections with bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori are undoubtedly important in some cases. However it is becoming increasingly apparent that the host’s response to such environmental factors is also a major determinant of disease susceptibility.
GI tumours develop as a result of perturbations to key homeostatic cellular processes such as apoptosis, proliferation, differentiation and migration within the rapidly renewing epithelium of the GI tract. Over the last few years we have been studying the ways in which several distinct host factors including the pro-apoptotic bcl-2 family member bak, members of the NF-κB family of proteins and the hormone gastrin disturb GI homeostasis to influence the development of gastric adenocarcinoma, colorectal adenocarcinoma and type I gastric neuroendocrine tumours.
About Professor Pritchard
Professor Pritchard studied Medicine at Manchester University (BSc (1st class Hons) in Medical Biochemistry, 1988; MB.ChB. (with Hons), 1991). After junior hospital posts (MRCP(UK) 1994), he returned to the University of Manchester to train in Gastroenterology and performed research on the genetic regulation of apoptosis in the GI tract (Digestive Disorders Foundation and MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships leading to PhD, 1999).
In 2000 he moved to the University of Liverpool as a clinical lecturer to complete clinical training in Gastroenterology. Following this he was awarded an Advanced Fellowship for Clinicians from the Wellcome Trust (2002-6) to study the importance of Helicobacter pylori-induced apoptosis during gastric tumour development. He was awarded the ASNEMGE Rising Star award in 2007 and the Sir Francis Avery Jones Research Medal of the British Society of Gastroenterology in 2008.
He was appointed Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 2006, Professor in 2009 and Head of the Department of Gastroenterology in 2010.