Medical School or Training
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2004
Hospital of The University Of Pennsylvania, Internal Medicine, PA, 2006
Gastroenterology, Hospital of The University Of Pennsylvania, 2010
Our research program is focused on the biology of pre-cancerous lesions of epithelial organs and the molecular and cellular events that occur during their transition to cancer. We employ unique genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) as a model for cancer development and progression. The overarching goal of these studies is to learn more about how cancer develops and evolves so that we may devise new strategies for early diagnosis and treatment for patients with advanced precancerous lesions and early forms of cancer that are undetectable using current clinical tests. We will also use this information to design novel strategies to treat pancreatic cancer as well as to devise ways to prevent PDAC from forming in at-risk patients. Three themes underscore my work: 1) Identifying the key molecular (genomic and transcriptional) events that drive the development and progression of precancerous lesions of the pancreas; 2) Dissecting and contrasting the interactions between the epithelium and the inflammatory stromal compartment during pancreatitis, pre-cancer (PanIN), and cancer development; and 3) Understanding the molecular and cellular requirements and clinical implications of blood stream and distant organ seeding of pancreatic epithelial cells, an unexpectedly early event during the transition from pre-cancer to cancer in multiple organs (studies involve both murine and human specimens). Finally, we are conducting several clinical trials to test the utility of biomarker candidates identified in our mouse models to predict subsequent tumor formation in patients at high-risk for carcinoma and in remission.
Andrew D. Rhim MD is Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Prior to his recruitment July 2013, Dr. Rhim was the William Osler MD Fellow in Medicine and Instructor of Medicine at the Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rhim completed his medical training, residency in internal medicine, clinical fellowship and research fellowship in genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rhim's research is focused on understanding the key molecular and cellular events that occur when precancerous lesions transform into cancer. By understanding this critical window of time, he hopes to develop new ways to diagnose and treat the earliest stages of cancer, before it can be detected using current clinical testing. Dr. Rhim has chosen to focus his efforts on pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cyst disease given the poor prognosis associated with these diseases. Dr. Rhim uses a variety of approaches and systems in his research, including a novel genetically engineered mouse model of pancreatic cancer and microfluidic technology. Dr. Rhim's work has been recognized in numerous ways. Dr. Rhim has received numerous awards, including the Career Development Awards from the American Association for Cancer Research, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Department of Defense and the American Gastroenterological Association, the Caroline Craig and Damian Augustyn Award in Digestive Cancer, the Gregory Gurtner Memorial Professorship, Frank Brooks Memorial Research Award and the Betsy Cohen Award in Cancer Research. His research program is currently funded by eight federal and private foundation grants. Dr. Rhim's clinical interests and expertise center on stratifying and managing risk for cancer in patients susceptible to pancreatic cancer, including patients with pancreatic cystic lesions and patients with particularly strong family histories for pancreatic cancer. He currently sees patients in the Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Disease Program in the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.