The People of Tulane Cancer Center Research

Ilanta S FortgangIlana S. Fortgang, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Gastroenterology
Tulane Cancer Center Contributing Member

Contact Information
Phone: 504-988-0297
Address: 1430 Tulane Ave., Box SL-37, New Orleans, LA 70112-2699

Biographical Narrative

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease are the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) characterized by repeated bouts of acute intestinal mucosal injury and epithelial cell destruction. Patients with IBD harbor an increased risk of colon cancer and develop this malignancy at much younger ages than do those in the general population. Although the precise etiology of IBD is not yet known, it is appreciated that susceptible individuals respond in a dysregulated manner to enteric luminal antigens. This reaction is significant for a pathological influx of inflammatory cells to the damaged tissue, resulting in a predominant and enduring surge of proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF). As well, and despite its name, increased levels of TNF have been found in the setting of numerous carcinomas. The goal of Dr. Fortgang's current research is to define the specific role of tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFRs) in neoplastic transformation associated with chronic inflammation. Specific emphasis is to be placed on elucidating the downstream pathways activated over the course of tumorigenesis. The overall hypothesis is that loss of TNFR1 but not of TNF or TNFR2 confers increased vulnerability to invasive carcinoma. Her team will explore the discrete roles of TNF and TNFRs and their signal transduction pathways utilizing the well-characterized AOM/DSS model of chronic colitis and tumorigenesis. These studies have potential direct relevance to the treatment of human cancers because they will identify novel therapeutic targets and define their mechanisms of regulation, crucial steps in the process of determining and designing small molecules to modulate activity in vivo.

Selected Publications
Fortgang I, Srivastav S, Baskin GB, Schumacher PM, Levy LS. Retrospective analysis of clinical and laboratory factors associated with lymphoma in simian AIDS. Leukemia & Lymphoma, 45:161-169, 2004.

Bellows C, Belafsky P, Fortgang IS, Beech DJ. Melanoma in African-Americans: trends in biological behavior and clinical characteristics over two decades. J. Surg Oncology Suppl., 78(1): 10-16, 2001.

Fortgang IS, Baskin GB, Ruff K, Levy LS. Pathobiology of simian-AIDS-associated lymphoma: the Tulane Regional Primate Research Center (TNPRC) experience. Recent Res Devel Virol, 2(2001): 455-470, 2001.

Fortgang IS, Rege T, Baskin GB, Murphy-Corb M, Levy LS. Variation in simian immunodeficiency virus env V1 region in simian AIDS-associated lymphoma. AIDS Res and Hum Retroviruses, 17: 459-465, 2001.

Fortgang IS, Didier PJ, Levy LS. B-cell leukemia in a rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) infected with simian immunodeficiency virus. Leukemia and Lymphoma, 37: 657-662, 2000.

Habis A, Baskin G, Simpson L, Fortgang I, Murphey-Corb M, Levy LS. Rhesus lymphocryptovirus infection during the progressions of SAIDS and SAIDS-associated lymphoma in the rhesus macaque. AIDS Res and Hum Retroviruses, 16: 163-171, 2000.


1430 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112