Kalish Laboratory

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The Kalish Lab studies how genetic and epigenetic alterations lead to overgrowth syndromes. This work focuses largely on patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) and understanding the transition from normal growth to overgrowth to tumor formation.

BWS is the most common cancer predisposition and growth disorder that leads to cancer in children. Children with BWS can develop overgrowth of a number of different organs and in some cases develop tumors, most commonly hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) and/or Wilms tumor (kidney cancer). Some of the same genetic and epigenetic changes that cause BWS are also seen in other types of cancer; therefore studying BWS is a window into understanding the larger questions about growth and the transition to cancer.

The Kalish Lab focuses on improving clinical care for children with BWS through clinical and translational research. The lab oversees the BWS registry and biorepository and its work uses clinical data and samples to understand the transition between normal growth, overgrowth, and cancer.

The lab’s clinical research focuses on improving care for the clinical features of BWS and understanding the correlations between those manifestations. Through this work, the lab continues to develop national management guidelines for BWS. Its translational research focuses on how epigenetic and genetic changes lead to the features of BWS including overgrowth and cancer, with the goals of understanding these mechanisms and developing therapeutics.

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Project Highlights

  • Characterizing the Molecular Mechanisms Driving Placental Pathologies in Beckwith-Wiedemann Spectrum That May Contribute to Preterm Birth
  • Improving Outcomes Through the Use of Standardized Protocols for Surveillance in Children Predisposed to Cancer
  • Deciphering Beckwith-Wiedemann Spectrum Changes Driving Hepatomegaly and Metabolic Disruption
  • Uncovering the Gene Signatures in Beckwith-Wiedemann Spectrum Kidneys, which Promote the Transition from Normal Tissue to Wilms Tumor
  • Determining the Aberrant Signaling in Beckwith-Wiedemann Spectrum that Drives Macroglossia
  • Unraveling Epigenetic Mosaicism in Patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome
  • Identification of Genetic and Epigenetic Factors That Contribute to the Increased Risk of Cancer in Children with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome
Leader
Jennifer M. Kalish

Jennifer M. Kalish, MD, PhD

Director, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome Program of Excellence
Dr. Kalish's research focuses on understanding the molecular and epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to the predisposition to cancer that is characteristic of pediatric patients with rare imprinted gene disorders, including the overgrowth disorder Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS).