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Racial differences in host immune response to Helicobacter pylori virulence factors – does this help to explain the gastric cancer racial disparity in the United States?

This conversation was led by Meira Epplein, Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences at Duke University, and Julia Butt, Senior Research Associate in the Infections and Cancer Epidemiology research group at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is the leading cause of gastric cancer, but only 1-3% of individuals with chronic infection will develop cancer. Individuals with antibodies to H. pylori virulence factors CagA and VacA have been found to be at a 2- to 4-fold increase in risk of gastric cancer. Gastric cancer is significantly more common among African Americans than non-Hispanic white Americans, and whether this is due in part to the host immune response to H. pylori is unknown.

Meira Epplein in a Zoom meeting Julia Butt in a Zoom meeting

Resources discussed:

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