Matthew Ciorba, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Program
Director, IBD Research
Associate Director, GI Fellowship Program and T32 Research
- Fellowship: Washington University, St. Louis, MO (2007)
- Residency: Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO (2003)
- MD: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (2001)
Gastroenterology, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease
Along with colleagues we have used clinical databases and laboratory modeling to study the general fields of intestinal inflammation, injury repair and carcinogenesis. Our work is inspired by clinical interactions with patients affected by the human inflammatory bowel diseases and those patients who experience significant gastrointestinal side effects from radiotherapy induced bowel injury. The overarching goal of our research is to identify novel ways to improve life for patients enduring these illnesses. Translating our findings to human relevance is aided by our Division’s DDRCC clinical database and BioSpecimens.
A major focus of our current investigations are on a specific enzyme, Indoleamine 2,3 Dixoygenase1 (IDO), which has been demonstrated to have potent immune modulating capacity. Using animal models and other laboratory-based approaches we have identified IDO as an important regulator of the intestinal inflammatory response and as modifier of colitis associated cancer progression. IDO expression is increased in both human IBD and animal colitis models. Blocking this enzyme worsens inflammation while pharmacologic upregulation of intestinal IDO expression limits inflammation. Our investigations show that targeting of IDO may have therapeutic potential in both colitis and colitis associated cancer. This work is or has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK) and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
A separate focus of the lab is to explore the role and mechanisms by which probiotic bacteria protect the intestinal epithelium from radiation injury. The small intestine is highly sensitive to radiation and is a major site of injury during radiation therapy. Diarrhea as a side effect is the limiting factor in dosing of radiation therapy for rectal cancer and other abdominal malignancies. There is a need for agents that could be given before radiation therapy to diminish radiation injury to the small intestine without decreasing the radiation sensitivity of the tumor. Our research suggests that certain lactobacillus probiotics and probiotic-derived products may be a useful prophylactic strategy to limit intestinal injury to humans during radiation therapy. Funding for this work came from the inaugural Global Probiotic Council’s Young Investigator Award. Click here for a link to news release.