Physician, Professor of Medicine
GRADUATE PROGRAM AFFILIATIONS:
MD/PhD Degree Program, Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology
Fellowship, Gastroenterology, University of Missouri - Columbia, MO (1987)
Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Missouri - Columbia, MO (1985)
M.D., University of Florida, College of Medicine (1980)
Peptides and Growth of Pancreatic Cancer
Research interests are directed to understanding the regulation of growth of gastrointestinal malignancies. Gastrointestinal peptides that regulate growth and development of the normal GI tract appear to also regulate growth of various GI cancers. Dr. Smith has shown that selective receptor antagonists of gastrin and cholecystokinin inhibit growth of human colon and pancreatic cancer. The intracellular and molecular mechanisms of growth of several GI cancers are being investigated. The research lab has been studying the molecular aspects of some unique receptors on pancreatic cancer cells and actively performs procedures such as PCR, gel electrophoresis, cloning, and sequencing.
Dr. Smith has shown that endogenous [Met5]-enkephalin, opioid growth factor, inhibits growth of pancreatic and colon cancer. The mechanism involved in the growth inhibition by OGF is being sought, and appears to involve a defect in the autocrine loop. Two NIH grants support this research including a Phase I trial in humans. Several clinical trials are underway. Dr. Smith is the principal investigator on three research grants from the National Institute of Health and has support from industry for other projects.
As a clinician scientist, Dr. Smith is also actively involved in clinical research. She has discovered a new antiviral therapy, amantadine, for hepatitis C that improved 70% of patients who had previously failed Interferon therapy. Further clinical trials are underway.