SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Jose Saenz, MD, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine was named the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation-Gastric Cancer Foundation latest Research Scholar in Gastric Cancer.

Gastric Cancer Foundation
The AGA Research Award Program identifies and supports talented investigators who are pursuing careers in digestive disease research. In 2013, the Gastric Cancer Foundation initiated the first gastric cancer award in collaboration with AGA to encourage talented young investigators to focus on stomach cancer, the most under-funded major cancer.

This award is a $270,000 three-year research grant to support innovative research in gastric cancer, and ensures that a major proportion of the recipient’s time is protected for research.

“The Foundation is enormously proud to be able to fund promising young researchers who are working on new discoveries to improve the lives of gastric cancer patients,” said Wayne Feinstein, Board Chair of the Gastric Cancer Foundation. “Without this kind of seed money, these young researchers would not be able to seek larger grants to pursue important basic research.”

Dr. Saenz’s winning project is the study of “Alterations in the Gastric Landscape and the Effects on Helicobacter Pylori Pathogenesis.” Helicobacter pylori is a common bacterium, and infects approximately 50 percent of the world’s population and is the cause of several gastrointestinal diseases.

“I am honored to have received this award and equally honored to receive your words of encouragement,” said Dr. Saenz after being notified by Feinstein.

The first Research Scholar recipient was recently selected to receive Congressional funding through the Department of Defense to continue investigating “Targeting B Cell-Mediated Type II Autoimmunity in Gastric Carcinogenesis,” initiated with the Foundation’s support.

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The Gastric Cancer Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by stomach cancer by working with leading researchers to initiate research in pursuit of a cure. The Foundation has granted over $2 million for research.

The Foundation and AGA Research Foundation – – joined together to provide perpetual funding for this award. Each organization committed $1,125,000 in order to establish an endowment of $2,250,000. This assures that funding will be available for young investigators who are researching the fundamental pathobiology of gastric cancer.