GI Tissue Medicine Research Group

The GI Tissue Medicine research group's focus lies on three research topics: first, the clinico-tissue medical aspects of tumor budding in colorectal cancer, the histologic scoring systems in inflammatory bowel disease as well as the prognostic/predictive biomarkers in tumors of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Current research projects Lugli

Tumor budding in gastrointestinal neoplasms

Group Lugli The main aim of the GI Tissue Medicine research group concerning tumor budding in CRC is the following: to identify potential target molecules in tumor buds and develop an anti-budding therapy. The focus lies on four clinical scenarios: pT1 CRC, stage II CRC, rectal cancer (preoperative) and colorectal liver metastases. Additionally, our group is also a member of the International Budding Consortium (IBC).  

pT1 colorectal cancer with high grade budding (H&E staining)

Biopsy-based prediction and prognosis in inflammatory bowel disease

Group Lugli Our group works on extracting information from colorectal tissue biopsies to aid prognosis of disease evolution and prediction of therapy success in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In Bern, we are working on implementing the IBD-DCA score in clinical practice. In parallel, we are establishing its prognostic value and develop an AI algorithm to automatize the scoring. In collaboration with gastroenterologists in Europe (Switzerland, Netherlands), we hope to identify tissue-based markers that allow a personalized treatment strategy in asymptomatic patients diagnosed with IBD during colorectal cancer screening.

Schematic overview of how information extracted from colorectal biopsies may be used to guide treatment strategy in asymptomatic patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease during colon cancer screening.

Influence of neoadjuvant therapy on the immune profile of esophageal adenocarcinomas

Group Lugli Immune checkpoint inhibitors are increasingly used in the adjuvant therapy of locally advanced, neoadjuvantly treated adenocarcinomas of the esophagus. Reliable predictive biomarkers are essential to identify the patient population that shows a significant response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. We are studying the transcriptome, methylome and immunohistochemical expression profile of immunomodulatory molecules in human tumor samples.  The aim is to identify key molecules that may influence the response to therapy.  In addition, the impact of neoadjuvant therapy on these immunomodulatory molecules will be investigated.

Identification of differentially expressed genes in esophageal adenocarcinomas depending on PD-L1 status