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Acid reflux disease, commonly known as “heartburn,” is a common problem faced by about 60 million people in the US, and is often associated with regret over having had a spicy or greasy meal. But the truth is that acid reflux is associated with a much more serious disease: esophageal adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that develops after normal esophageal tissue is displaced by tissue that’s more similar to intestinal tissue.

This condition, which can lead to cancer, is referred to as Barrett’s esophagus, and is just one aspect of esophageal biology being researched in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Temple University.

On today’s episode, Kelly Whelan, PhD, dives into all the details of the research she’s doing, which includes exploring the sex and racial bias of esophageal diseases, the risk factors that lead to esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, the difference and relation between esophageal cancers and eosinophilic esophagitis, the types of immune responses triggered by different disease states of the esophagus, how the epithelial cells of the esophagus change with age, and so much more.

Whelan is a wealth of information on everything esophageal biology. Press play to hear the full conversation.

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