Liver Cancer News 2009

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Liver Cancer News 2009

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Amorfix Corporate Update: AMF Currently Developing Six Products with First Sales for Alyloid Products Already Achieved and First Test of vCJD Patient Samples
29 December 2009

Amorfix Life Sciences, a company focused on treatments and diagnostics for misfolded protein diseases, has completed the development of a prototype test for early detection of HCC and will now start testing clinical samples to determine sensitivity. The joint project includes BioMosaics and an investment from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto.

For the complete article, click on AMF Currently Developing Six Products

ASTF to Fund AUC’s Nanotechnology Research
18 December 2009

The UAE-based Arab Science ‘&’ Technology Foundation (ASRF) is funding a ground breaking research program conducted by scientists at the American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at creating a new generation of nano-devices. The paper quoted Dr Hassan Azzazy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at AUC, as saying that the research was aimed at constructing and utilizing a variety of Nan particles including gold Nan particles and Nancrystals to develop unique diagnostic tests for sensitive detection of the hepatitis C virus. “We are also working on designing nano-carriers for controlled simultaneous delivery of therapeutic drugs and genetic materials into liver cells using built-in nano-switches,” he explained.

For the complete article, click on ASTF to Fund AUC’s Nanotechnology Research

Protein Examined for Role in Liver Cancer
17 December 2009

A protein switch called TAK1 helps prevent liver damage, including inflammation, fibrosis and cancer, according to a team of scientists from the United States and Japan. It was already known that TAK1 activates two proteins that play a role in immunity, inflammation, programmed cell death and cancer. However, it wasn’t clear whether TAK1 promotes or prevents liver cancer.

To investigate this question, Brenner and colleagues created mice with liver cells that lacked TAK1 and found that the mice had a high rate of liver cell death. To compensate, the rodents’ livers produced too many cells, resulting in liver damage that led to liver cancer, the researchers found.

For the complete article, click on Protein Examined for Role in Liver Cancer

First Patient in China Treated as Part of Celsion’s Global Phase III ThermoDox Heat Trial
17 December 2009

Celsion Corp., an oncology drug development company, said that the first patient in China has been enrolled and treated as part of Celsion’s global Phase III ThermoDox Heat trial for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. The study is now recruiting patients in ten of the eleven planned countries, with the majority of them in the Asia Pacific region. Celsion’s ThermoDox Phase III study for primary liver cancer is being conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The 600-patient study is designed to evaluate the efficacy of ThermoDox in combination with RFA when compared to patients who receive RFA alone as the control. Celsion expects the study could be completed by the middle of 2011.

For the complete article, click on First Patient in China Treated

CIC bioGUNE Research Scientists Identify Risk Gene Affecting Liver Regeneration
17 December 2009

Researchers from the CIC bioGUNE, Center for Cooperative Research in BioSciences in Spain, and the Centre for Biomedical Network Research into Hepatic and Digestive Diseases, CIBERehd, have discovered that deficiency of the gene GNMT affects liver regeneration and proliferation. It also produces greater susceptibility when the liver is damages. Researchers found GNMT deficiencies in patients with HCC. Along with other scientists, it has been shown that GNMT is the main gene behind liver metabolism of the SAMe molecule (S-Adenosylmethionine), which is important for ensuring that liver cells multiply correctly. Studies have shown that high levels of SAMe alter the way hepatocytes function, causing uncontrolled proliferation of the liver, which leads to HCC. The total lack of GNMT means uncontrolled SAMe levels, which means the liver is unable to stop hepatic cells from proliferating.

For the complete article, click on CIC bioGUNE Research Scientists Identify Risk Gene

Getting a handle on Posttransplant Recurrence of HCC
17 December 2009

Liver transplantation offers the best overall and recurrence-free survival for the treatment of HCC. Patients with the highest risk of recurrence are those with tumors beyond the Milan criteria, which is a patient with one lesion smaller than 5 cm or up to three lesions smaller than 3 cm. Although there are many reports on the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy to prevent recurrence, most have shown no significant gain. It is best to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible after the transplant, but most patients are not medically fit to receive it in the early post-operative period. There are currently two promising unproven agents on the market, sorafenib (Nexavar) and an immunosuppressant sirolimus (Rapamune).

For the complete article, click on Getting a handle on Posttransplant Recurrence of HCC

Scientists Uncover Protective Mechanism Against Liver Cancer
14 December 2009

A team of scientist from UC San Diego School of Medicine and Osaka University in Japan identified the protein switch TAK1 that helps prevent liver damage. “TAK1 appears to be a master regulator of liver function,” said David A. Brenner, MD, professor of medicine and Dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. TAK1 is a kinase, a type of signaling protein involved in regulating various cell activities, including cell growth. Researchers have known that TAK1 activates two specific proteins, NF-kappaB and JNK, which are both involved in immunity, inflammation, programmed cell death and cancer. But NF-kappaB helps protect liver cells from dying and protects against cancer development. In contrast, JNK promotes cell death and cancer. According to Seki, the study is the first to demonstrate the role of TAK1 in cancer development, and strongly suggests that the protein also contributes to cancer development in other organs.

For the complete article, click on Scientists Uncover Protective Mechanism Against Liver Cancer

Lentigen Awarded Phase I SBIR Grant for Hepatitis C Vaccine
9 December 2009

Lentigen Corporation, a biotechnology company that specializes in the development and manufacture of lentiviral gene delivery technologies is working on a new program with Epixis SA to generate Hepatitis C Virus-like particles using Lentivirus technology. Epixis SA had previously designed rVLPs pseudotype with HCV proteins, E1 and E2, which, if present lead to immune responses and boost with the pseudotyped rVLPs. The aim of the grant is for the construction of a lentiviral vector using a higher concentration of rVLPs on human cells.

For the complete article, click on Lentigen Awarded Phase I SBIR Grant for Hepatitis C Vaccine

Egypt: Nanotechnology comes to AUC
8 December 2009

Scientists at The American University in Cairo (AUC) are currently working on nanoscience through the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Centerat the university. AUC said the new research includes “the development of novel diagnostic tests for sensitive detection of the hepatitis C virus; [and] detection of cancer biomarkers.” “Nanoparticles are also used in different test configurations to develop experiments for the detection of cancer biomarkers such as alpha-fetoprotein, a marker of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer),” said Professor Hassan Azzazy, chair of AUC’s chemistry department. “We are also working on designing nano-carriers for controlled simultaneous delivery of therapeutic drugs and genetic materials into liver cells using built-in nano-switches,” he explained.

For the complete article, click on Egypt: Nanotechnology comes to AUC

Doxorubicin Transdrug ®: Significant Increased Survival Rate in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treated in a Phase II Clinical Trial
8 December 2009

BioAlliance Pharma SA, a company dedicated to the treatment and supportive care of cancer and AIDS patients announced positive survival data in its phase II clinical trial with doxorubicin Transdrug ® in patients with HCC. Doxorubicin Transdrug ® is a treatment that delivers nanoparticles via hepatic intra-arterial route. The phase II results showed an 88.9% survival rate after 18 months of treatment as compared to the 54.5% rate inpatients with current standard care such as transarterial chemoembolisation.

For the complete article, click on Doxorubicin Transdrug ®: Significant Increased Survival Rate

Green Pigments may Help Prevent Liver Cancer
6 December 2009

According to a study done by researchers at Linus Pauling Institute, eating plenty of green vegetables may help prevent liver cancer. Since green vegetables are high in chlorophyll, the study found that chlorophyll and chlorophyllin may reduce the bioavailability of aflatoxin B, a cancer-causing chemical that can induce liver cancer. For the current study, Dr George Bailey and colleagues examined the effect of co-treatment of chlorophyll and chlorophyllin on bioavailability of aflatoxin B in a few Chinese volunteers. Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin treatment each significantly impeded Aflatoxin B absorption and helped get rid of the toxin quickly in one or more subjects, the researchers found.

For the complete article, click on Green Pigments may Help Prevent Liver Cancer

Experimental Drug is Combating Hepatitis C in Chimps, Researchers Say
4 December 2009

Researchers reported that an experimental drug, SPC3649 that works by a different mechanism than existing drugs has been shown to suppress hepatitis C in chimpanzees and is already being tested in human clinical trials. SPC3649 is an antisense drug that binds to RNA that is required by the virus for replication. Researchers at Santaris Pharma A/S in Hoersholm, Denmark, and San Diego injected SPC3649 intravenously into four chimpanzees chronically infected with hepatitis C for 12 weeks, followed by 17 weeks of observation. In the two animals receiving the highest dose, there was a 350-fold drop in the virus level. The only side effect of the treatment was a 45% drop in what is called “bad cholesterol.”

For the complete article, click on Experimental Drug is Combating Hepatitis C in Chimps

Bayer Appeals NICE’s Ruling on Liver Cancer Drug
3 December 2009

Bayer, a Germany-based drug company appealed Britain’s ruling on its critical liver cancer drug which stated, “The price being asked by Bayer is simply too high to justify using NHS money which could be spent on better value cancer treatments.” The drug costs around 2,900 pounds a month and would cost about 8,300 pounds per patient on average. Bayer has offered to give every fourth pack for free. Bayer said that the decision by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to deny critically ill patients’ access to Nexavar was contradictory and accused them of being unfair.

For the complete article, click on Bayer Appeals NICE’s Ruling on Liver Cancer Drug

Sorafenib in a Patient with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Serious Impairment of Left Ventricular Function: a Case Report
2 December 2009

Sorafenib is a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor and is widely used in the treatment of HCC. Side effects are normally mild and can include an increase of blood pressure. However, side effects may be critical for patients with underlying serious heart disease and may escalate to acute heart failure. A case study was done to either validate or invalidate this theory. The patient had HCC and severe post-ischemic fall of left ventricular function, a type of stroke where the blood supply to the part of the brain is decreases leading to the dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. He was given a reduced daily dose of 400mg of sorafenib and doctors saw no worsening of his heart function.

For the complete article, click on Sorafenib in a Patient with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

DFG Approves Funding for 17 New Collaborative Research Centers
30 November 2009

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) a German research foundation approved the establishment of 17 new Collaborative Research Centers as of Jan 1, 2010. One such is the new CRC 850 Control of Cell Motility in Morphogenesis, Cancer Invasion and Metastasis to better understand molecular mechanisms of tumor-cell invasion and metastasis formation. Another, the CDC 841 Liver Inflammation-Infection, Immune Regulation and Consequences will study the underlying causes and mechanisms of inflammatory liver diseases. In addition, the CRC/Transregio 77 Liver Cancer- from Molecular Pathogenesis to Targeted Therapies will seek to gain an in-depth understanding of the molecular formation of liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on DFG Approves Funding for 17 New Collaborative Research Centers

Chemoembolization, Survival in Liver Cancer Studied Chemoembolization in Conjunction with Permanent Embolic Agent Provides Longer Survival
25 November 2009

Scientists found that patients with unresectable HCC that had undergone transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) in conjunction with a permanent embolic agent to cause a blockage, survived longer than patients who underwent TACE only. Antoinette S. Gomes, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the outcomes for 124 patients with unresectable HCC who underwent TACE, including 56 who received triple-drug TACE and a nonpermanent embolic agent, and 68 patients who had triple-drug TACE with a permanent embolic agent. Twenty-eight of the patients went on to have liver transplants and 96 did not. In addition, the researchers found that survival was significantly longer for those who got a liver transplant with a mean survival of 83.45 months.

For the complete article, click on Chemoembolization, Survival in Liver Cancer Studied Chemoembolization

Association Between the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk: A Meta-analysis
24 November 2009

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a key enzyme in the metabolism of folate, folic acids. Scientists have found that the non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (nsSNP) C677T impairs enzyme activity. C677T polymorphism was found to increase the risk of HCC. The study also showed that the TT genotype increased the risk of HCC as compared to the CT genotype. Therefore, MTHFR C677T polymorphism increased the risk of HCC in an over-dominant model and might be a risk factor for HCC occurrence, especially in chronic liver disease patients.

For the complete article, click on Association Between the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk

NICE Appraisal of Sorafenib for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
20 November 2009

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is evaluating the use of sorafenib for the treatment of HCC for patients with unresectable tumors. As of yet, NICE does not recommend sorafenib. Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE stated, “We were disappointed not to have been able to recommend the use of sorafenib, but after carefully considering all evidence, including the proposed ‘patient access scheme’ in which the manufacturer offered to provide every fourth pack free, sorafenib does not provide enough benefit to patients to justify its high cost.”

For the complete article, click on NICE Appraisal of Sorafenib for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Alnylam Reveals Positive Data from Liver Cancer Therapeutic Pre-Clinical Study-Update
18 November 2009

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s ALN-VSP, a treatment for patients with liver cancer including HCC, showed positive data in a pre-clinical study. The trial showed strong anti-tumor activity while disseminating tumors outside of the liver with potent anti-angiogenic effect, the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. ALN-VSP is an RNAi therapeutic targeting two genes that are critical in the growth and survival of cancer cells, kinesin spindle protein requires for tumor cell proliferation and vascular endothelial growth factors that builds blood vessel formation to sustain tumor growth. ALN-VSP is currently in a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate safety, tolerability, and its effects on the body.

For the complete article, click on Alnylam Reveals Positive Data from Liver Cancer Therapeutic Pre-Clinical Study-Update

Jennerex and Lee’s Pharmaceuticals Announce Partnership for JX-594 in China
18 November 2009

Jennerex, a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company developing targeted oncolytic virus therapeutics, will be joining Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings, a public biopharmaceutical company with over 14 years of operation in China’s pharmaceutical industry, for the collaboration of JX-594, a treatment for HCC. JX-594 is currently in a Phase II trial after tumor destruction and safety in patients was shown in Phase I. JX-594 multiplies within cancer cells leading to their destruction. Then newly created copies of JX-594 are released and able to infect and remove other tumor cells while never affecting healthy, normal cells in the body. The backbone of JX-594 is the poxvirus, which naturally targets cancer cells.

For the complete article, click on Jennerex and Lee’s Pharmaceuticals Announce Partnership for JX-594

XPD Codon 312 and 754 Polymorphisms, and AFB1 Exposure, and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk
17 November 2009

Genetic polymorphisms in DNA repair genes may influence individual variation in DNA repair capacity, which may be associated with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) related to the exposure of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). Scientists studied 618 cases of HCC and 712 control cases to assess whether or not there was an association between the two polymorphisms, Codon 312 and 754, and the risk of HCC. They concluded that cases with the XPD 751 Gln were at a higher risk of HCC than those with XPD 751 Lys. They also found that the risk was higher for women.

For the complete article, click on XPD Codon 312 and 754 Polymorphisms, and AFB1 Exposure, and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk

Octreotide Treatment of Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma – A Retrospective Single Centre Controlled Study
4 November 2009

Ninety-five patients were analyzed at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical University of Vienna who were either treated with “active” treatment such as TACE, multimodal therapy, and long-acting octreotide or palliative care, which is any form of treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of the symptoms rather than delaying the progression of the disease. All patients who received “active” treatment had better survival rates than those who were only made to feel better.

For the complete article, click on Octreotide Treatment of Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

First Patient Enrolled in Phase I Trial of TG4023 for the Treatment of Liver Tumors
4 November 2009

Transgene, a France-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of immunotherapeutic products in oncology, has begun Phase I trial of TG4023, which is a mechanism of action. TG4023 is administered by injecting FCU1 directly to the tumor. Then the liver cells convert the 5-FC into 5-FU, a well-known chemotherapeutic drug. In tests, it was able to kill the tumor completely. The trial will take place in six centers, enrolling 20 patients. The trial will determine safety and efficacy, as well as tolerance of the drug.

For the complete article, click on First Patient Enrolled in Phase I Trial of TG4023 for the Treatment of Liver Tumors

Predicting Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Curative Surgery with Common Clinicopathologic Parameters
3 November 2009

Surgical resection is a curative treatment for HCC, but prognoses thereafter is often difficult to substantiate. Scientists then conducted a retrospective analysis of 572 Chinese HCC patients who had received curative surgery. Findings showed the five common clinicopathologic parameters to be tumor size, number of tumors, tumor stage, venous infiltration status which is the spread of diseased tissue into the veins, and serum-fetoprotein and total albumin levels. There was considerably much variance between the patients. This study could future biomarker inputs and serve as the foundation for future modeling.

For the complete article, click on Predicting Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Curative Surgery

REG-Biocompatibles Intl.: Statement re Positive Data in Combination Therapy Trial
3 November 2009

Professor Jean-Francois Geschwind MD, Professor of Radiology, surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland presented data from 11 HCC patients being treated with Biocompatibles’ Doxorubicin-Eluting Bead (DEB-DOX) in combination with Nexavar. Geschwind observed a 45 per cent tumor response and 100 percent disease control as compared with the placebo. Biocompatibles expects positive results would establish the combined therapy as the standard care for HCC patients.

For the complete article, click on REG-Biocompatibles Intl.: Statement re Positive Data in Combination Therapy Trial

New Research from Japan: Green Tea Fights Blood and Liver Cancer, as well as Pneumonia
2 November 2009

Japanese scientists at the Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohor Study have conducted three new studies with more evidence to support data that green tea products heal the human body. 41,761 adults with no history of cancer were followed. Dr. Tory Naganuma of Tohoku University School of Medicine reported that drinking at least 5 cups of greed tea daily reduced the risk of blood cancers by 42 percent. The tea offers protection from liver malignancies as well.

For the complete article, click on New Research from Japan: Green Tea Fights Blood and Liver Cancer

BioSphere Medical Submits Investigational Device Exemption to FDA for QuadraSphere Microspheres for Use with Doxorubicin for the Treatment of Primary Liver Cancer
28 October 2009

BioSphere Medical, Inc. a leader in the use of bio-engineered microspheres to treat tumors and vascular malformations by a minimally invasive procedure called embolotherpay. BioSphere has submitted to the FDA an application for the clinical trial for the use of QuadraSphere Microspheres for the treatment of primary liver cancer. QuadraSphere Microspheres are designed to provide a platform for embolization, a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure performed by IV. The spherical shape is designed to allow for a predictable, flow-directed occlusion, referring to a vessel, artery, or vein that has become completely blocked.

The clinical trial will be conducted in 15 sites in the US, European Union, and Brazil. Results will compare treatment with QuadraSphere with doxorubicin verses conventional transarterial chemoembolization (cTACE) with doxorubicin. cTACE is a two -stage process involving the injection of a concentrated dose of chemotherapeutic drugs directly into the blood vessels that feed the tumor, followed by blocking the tumor’s blood supply.

For the complete article, click on BioSphere Medical Submits Investigational Device Exemption to FDA for QuadraSphere Microspheres

Canonical Wnt Signaling is Antagonized by Noncanonical Wnta in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
22 October 2009

Researchers observed that beta-catenin mutations that activate the canonical Wnt signaling do so in a subset of HCC cases. The mutations are associated with chromosomal stability, and low tumor invasion, which leads to better patient survival. Findings lead to the idea that canonical and noncanonica Wnt pathways have complementary roles in HCC. The canonical signaling contributes to tumor initiation and noncanonical signaling to tumor progression.

For the complete article, click on Canonical Wnt Signaling is Antagonized by Noncanonical Wnta in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Celsion’s Global Phase III ThermoDox Trial Expands to Malaysia and the Philippines
20 October 2009

Celsion Corporation has received approval from the regulatory agencies in the Philippines and Malaysia for its Phase III primary liver cancer clinical trial. The Phase III trial is evaluating the efficacy and safety of ThermoDox in combination with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) when compared to RFA alone. The trial will include up to 600 patients and is currently being conducted in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, the US and Canada. Mr. Tardugno, Celsion’s President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “With RFA emerging as the global first line treatment for early stage HCC; ThermoDox’s potential to improve the efficacy of this cost effective procedure provides Celsion with a significant readymade market. Our goal is to provide the promise of our tumor targeting anti-cancer technology to HCC patients with few options as rapidly as possible.” Completion of patient enrollment is expected in the first half of 2010.

For the complete article, click on Celsion’s Global Phase III ThermoDox Trial Expands to Malaysia and the Philippines

Jennerex Inc. Receives EMEA Orphan Drug Designation for JX-594 for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
19 October 2009

Jennerex is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company focused on the development and commercialization of breakthrough-targeted products for cancer. Their lead product JX-594 is currently in an international Phase II clinical trial for patients with primary liver cancer. JX-594 had promising results in the Phase I trial. It works with the company’s poxviruses in cancer cells to cause cell death and thereby killing through replication. It also simultaneously shuts off the blood supply to tumors and stimulates the body’s immune response to the cancer.

For the complete article, click on Jennerex Inc. Receives EMEA Orphan Drug Designation for JX-594

Celsion is Granted SFDA Approval for China Cancer Trial
18 October 2009

Celsion Corporations has received approval from China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) to include China in its global Phase III clinical trial of a new liver cancer therapy ThermoDox. ThermoDox is a liposome encapsulation of doxorubicin, in other words the treatment delivers tiny beads filled with a commonly used chemotherapy drug directly to the tumor. ThermoDox also uses radiofrequency ablation in combination to release the chemotherapy. China is home to over half of the world’s HCC patients. Celsion plans to conduct the trial in up to 60 cities worldwide.

For the complete article, click on Celsion is Granted SFDA Approval for China Cancer Trial

Covidien Teams with Women’s Pro Basketball Legend Lisa Leslie on Liver Cancer Education Program
15 October 2009

Covidien is a leading global provider of healthcare products and information to help patients and their families understand the treatment options available to manage liver cancer. Covidien creates innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers value through clinical leadership, as well as manufacturing, distributing and servicing a diverse range of industry-leading product lines. The company encourages patients and caregivers to become advocates for care.

For the complete article, click on Covidien Teams with Women’s Pro Basketball Legend Lisa Leslie on Liver Cancer Education Program

European Medicines Evaluation Agency Grants Orphan Drug Designation to ARQ 197 for Treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
12 October 2009

ArQule, Inc. is a biotechnology company engaged in the research and development of next-generation, small-molecule cancer therapeutics focusing on the biological processes that are central to cancer. ArQule has announced that the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) has designated ARQ 197 as an orphan drug for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. ArQule is currently conducting a Phase II clinical trial in a sub-group of soft tissue sarcoma known as MiT. In addition, ARQ 197 is being evaluated in non-small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). ARQ 197 is a selective inhibitor of c-MET, a cell surface receptor shown to be key regulators of normal cellular processes. When abnormally activated, c-MET plays multiple roles in aspects of human cancer including cancer cell growth, survival, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. Treatment with ARQ 197 has been well tolerated and has resulted thus far in tumor responses and prolonged stable disease.

For the complete article, click on European Medicines Evaluation Agency Grants Orphan Drug Designation

Combination of Interferon-alpha and 5-flurouracil Inhibits Endothelial Cell Growth Directly and by Regulation of Angiogenic Factors Released by Tumor Cells
12 October 2009

Researchers found that the combination therapy of interferon (IFN)-alpha and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) improves the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Treatment testing was done on human umbilical vein endothelial cells and was regulated by secretions of angiogenic factors from HCC cells, in other words the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Results showed IFN-alpha and 5-FU together significantly inhibited the growth of cancerous cells.

For the complete article, click on Combination of Interferon-alpha and 5-flurouracil Inhibits Endothelial Cell Growth

Parasite Growth Hormone Pushes Human Cells to Cancer
11 October 2009

Research conducted by The University of Queensland and George Washington University has found that the human liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, a parasite that attacks the area of the bile duct, contributes to the development of liver cancer. It does so by secreting granulin, which is a growth hormone that is known to cause uncontrolled cell growth. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified O. viverrini as a Group 1 Carcinogen, meaning it is a proven cause of cancer.

For the complete article, click on Parasite Growth Hormone Pushes Human Cells to Cancer

MicroRNA Expression, Survival, and Response to Interferon in Liver Cancer
8 October 2009

Researchers looked at 455 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who had undergone radical tumor resection. MicroRNA expression profiling was done on 241 patients to determine its association with survival. miR-26 and miR-26b was found more in female patients with HCC in non-tumor liver tissue. Tumors had lower levels of miR-26 expression when compared to non-cancerous tissue, which showed that high levels of miR-26 are associated with HCC. Patients whose tumors had low miR-26 expression had shorter overall survival, but a better response to interferon therapy.

For the complete article, click on MicroRNA Expression, Survival, and Response to Interferon in Liver Cancer

Scientific Paper Supports Micro-Bland Embolization Technique for Liver Cancer with Embozene(TM) Microspheres
6 October 2009

The journal Vascular Disease Management concluded that the micro-bland embolization technique with Embozene Color-Advances Microspheres has positive outcomes. The research team at the European Institute of Oncology (EIO) in Rome developed a technique to cut off the blood supply within the tumor bed of primary and metastatic liver tumors, which leads to effective tumor control and reduces recurrence, without the use of chemotherapy drugs. Embozene Microspheres are the first and only color-enhanced for increase procedural safety and efficacy. They were designed by CeloNova Biosciences Inc., a leading developer of medical devices.

For the complete article, click on Scientific Paper Supports Micro-Bland Embolization Technique for Liver Cancer

Tiny Glass Beads Help Kill Cancer
2 October 2009

A new treatment called radioembolization takes advantage of your body’s anatomy to deliver large doses of radiation to the tumor and minimal amounts to the healthy surrounding areas. The radioactive particles are about the size of talcum powder particles. This outpatient procedure takes about an hour and patients are only given a local anesthetic.

For the complete article, click on Tiny Glass Beads Help Kill Cancer

Provectus Initiates Phase I Trial of PV-10 for Liver Cancer
1 October 2009

Provectus Pharmaceuticals has initiated a Phase I study of PV-10 for liver cancer involving six patients. PV-10, an injectable formulation of Rose Bengal, is a compound that has been used for more that thirty years to assess eye damage, has also been used as an intravenous diagnostic to detect ailments of the liver. Provectus has observed that Rose Bengal is only toxic to cancer cells when used in chemoablation. PV-10 is designed to target and destroy cancer cells without harming surrounding healthy tissue.

For the complete article, click on Provectus Initiates Phase I Trial of PV-10 for Liver Cancer

If We Can Only Buy Time
29 September 2009

Eating healthier is never a bad idea. Some foods may even help boost the immune system and help fight cancer cells. Red grapes, which are rich in bioflavonoids and resveratrol, are proven to suppress enzymes that encourage cancer growth. Shitake mushrooms help boost the immune system and fight cancer cells. Sweet potatoes protect the body against cancer invasions. Blueberries are one of the most powerful antioxidants. Papayas are loaded with Vitamin C, which is a cancer inhibitor. Flax seed has high omega-3 fatty acids, which can fight cancer. In addition, avocadoes are filled with powerful antioxidants to help fight liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on If We Can Only Buy Time

Onyx Starts Filling Tumor Trial
28 September 2009

Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. has started enrolling patients in a Phase I trial of a drug that could treat advanced solid tumors. ONX-0801 works by switching off the thymidylate enzyme, which is involved with cell growth and division. The researchers at Onyx say that targeting cells through the alpha-folate receptor, which is minimally expressed on most healthy tissue, can spare healthy cells.

For the complete article, click on Onyx Starts Filling Tumor Trial

M.D. Anderson Examines Use of Toad Venom in Cancer Treatment
24 September 2009

The researchers from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center collaborated on research based on huachansu, a Chinese medicine that comes from the dried venom secreted by the skin glands of toads. The venom’s toxicity is tolerable by humans and shown to possibly slow disease progression in some cancer patients. Results from a Phase I clinical trial was positive. Patients showed no significant signs of cardiac toxicities. The six patients with HCC had stabilized disease for a median of six months. Zhiqiang Meng, principal investigator on the trial and an associate professor and deputy chair of the Department of Integrative Oncology at Fudan University Cancer Hospital, said, “Previous observations from studies conducted in China have shown that huachansu can inhibit tumor cell growth…”

For the complete article, click on M.D. Anderson Examines Use of Toad Venom in Cancer Treatment

Update of Five Clinical Trials of NGR-hTNF, MolMed’s Anticancer Investigational Biologic Drug
24 September 2009

Doctors of MolMed presented new data for NGR008, a Phase II trial in previously treated patients with HCC. After examining results from 40 patients, 30% maintained for a median of 4.3 months. The median overall survival was almost nine months. 27% had a survival time of one year, and 17% had two years. Chairman and CEO, Claudio Bordignon commented, “We are particularly pleased that the Scientific Committee of ECCO-ESMO chose our study…thus recognizing the high quality of its results and the value of our effort in the development of a new anticancer agent.”

For the complete article, click on Update of Five Clinical Trials of NGR-hTNF

Combination of Bevacizumab and Erlotinib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
16 September 2009

The combination of bevacizumab and erlotinib in HCC offers a median overall survival of 15.7 months and provides a progression-free survival in HCC patients of 9 months and a response rate of 25%. The combination of the two’s toxicity profile is safe and tolerable. Overexpression of various growth factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), insulin-like growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, and transforming growth factor, is thought to have a role in the progression of normal liver tissue to cirrhosis. A Phase II clinical trial conducted at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to evaluate the efficacy of bevacizumab and erlotinib in 40 patients with HCC showed progression-free survival after 16 weeks.

For the complete article, click on Combination of Bevacizumab and Erlotinib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Lapatinib Shows Little Activity Against Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
15 September 2009

Lapatinib, an inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EFR), which plays a part in hormone activity, has only minimal activity against HCC. A Phase II clinical trial was done at The Ohio State University to test efficacy and tolerability of lapatinib in 26 patients with HCC. Researchers reported no objective response in any of the patients. Median progression-free survival was 1.9 months and median overall survival was 12.6 months.

For the complete article, click on Lapatinib Shows Little Activity Against Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

NICE Rejects Liver Cancer Treatment
9 September 2009

A liver cancer drug has been rejected for use by the UK’s cost-effectiveness healthcare watchdog even though the drug company has lowered the cost of the treatment. Nexavar, also known as sorafenib, created by Bayer was designed to help treat HCC. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had previously refused to accept the drug for treating kidney cancers, and it is being refused now a second time for the treatment of liver cancer. Bayer has proven that Nexavar works for liver and kidney cancer.

For the complete article, click on NICE Rejects Liver Cancer Treatment

Race Not Shown to Affect Liver Transplant Outcome Recurrence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma is Only Predictor of Survival After Transplant
3 September 2009

Researchers found that liver transplant outcomes for patients with hepatitis B are similar regardless of whether the patient is Caucasian, Asia, or African American. Natalie Bzowej, M.D. of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco analyzed data from 15 American transplant centers on 274 patients. 116 were Caucasian, 135 were Asian, and 23 were African-American. Of the 170 patients to undergo liver transplant, 19 died. Bzowej and researchers found all three groups had similar odds. The recurrence rated for HCC, the only predictor of survival, were also similar among all groups.

For the complete article, click on Race Not Shown to Affect Liver Transplant Outcome

DGAP-News: 4SC Commences Phase II Trial in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) with the HDAC Inhibitor 4SC-201
18 August 2009

4SC AG, a drug discovery and development company focused on autoimmune and cancer indications, has begun its phase II trial of 4SC-201. 4SC-201 (resminostat) is a pan-histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor and is a new potential treatment option for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HDAC inhibitors modify the DNA structure of tumour cells to cause their differentiation and programmed cell death, and are able to potentially stop tumor progression and therapeutically control the cancer. The study will evaluate efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics. Researchers will also be treating in combination with sorafenib and examining whether treatment of 4sc-201 alone or with sorafenib can increase progression free survival and tumor response.

For the complete article, click on DGAP-News: 4SC Commences Phase II Trial in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Egyptian Congress Focuses on Hepatitis Treatment
17 August 2009

The Egyptian Society of Hepatology, Gastroenterology and Infectious Diseases (ESHGID) emphasized on hepatitis C (HCV) treatment as the key to tackling Egypt’s growing liver cancer problem. “The issue we face exceeds all expectations. We need to move beyond blaming hepatitis C prevalence on anti-Bilharzia injections; this method of transmission has ceased since 1983. Current prevalence of HCV is directly related to lifestyle factors. Lack of awareness of proper hygiene and sterilization measures is the main means of transmission,” said Dr Helmy Abaza, professor of Gastroenterology at Alexandria University and president of the society.

For the complete article, click on Egyptian Congress Focuses on Hepatitis Treatment

Exogenous Cx43 Expression Decrease Cell Proliferation Rate in Rat Hepatocarcinoma Cell Independently of Function Gap Junction
13 August 2009

Gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) plays a role in the regulation of homeostasis because it regulates important processes including cell proliferation and cell differentiation. A reduced or lost GJIC capacity has been seen in solid tumors and studies show that GJIC restoration in tumor cells help the reversion of the transformed phenotype. The study was based on recent reports that an increase in the expression of specific connexins such as Cx43, which is a major structural protein, can contribute to reversion of the malignant portion of tumor cells. The results showed that Cx43 did not increase GJIC capacity of transfected cells, but was critical to decrease the cell proliferation rates. In conclusion, Cx43 expression lead to decreased growth of the rat hepatocellular carcinoma cells and contributed to the reversion of the transformed phenotype.

For the complete article, click on Exogenous Cx43 Expression Decrease Cell Proliferation Rate in Rat Hepatocarcinoma Cell

Sequential TACE and Cryosurgery can Improve Survival Times for Patients with HCC
12 August 2009

Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive technique of using extreme low temperatures to freeze and kill tumors. Cryosurgery can be used on virtually any solid organ cancer where conventional surgery would be unable to remove the tissue. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked and chemotherapy is administered directly into the tumor. TACE performed prior to cryoablation may increase the efficacy of the cryoablation for HCC, to decrease local recurrence at the ablation area, improve survival times, and reduce bleeding complications.

For the complete article, click on Sequential TACE and Cryosurgery can Improve Survival Times for HCC Patients

Multiple Pregnancies may Reduce the Risk of Liver Cancer Among Women with Hepatitis B Virus
11 August 2009

According to one study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, women with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) who have had multiple pregnancies are at a reduced risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Researchers evaluated the incidence and risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma among pregnant women in Taiwan who were screened for HBV infection to prevent transmission of the virus to their infants. They found that markers of active HBC viral replication were associated with a greater risk of later developing hepatocellular carcinoma than those who had inactive chronic HBV infection. This leads to the hypothesis of whether estrogen and progesterone secretion during pregnancy may have provided some protection from HBV-induced liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on Multiple Pregnancies may Reduce the Risk of Liver Cancer Among Women with Hepatitis B Virus

Study Demonstrates Link Between Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
10 August 2009

A study led by Valter Donadon, MD from Pordenon Hospital showed that type 2 diabetes pre-exists in many patients and is an independent risk factor for malignancy. 31.2% of patients with HCC had type 2 diabetes, 23.3% of cirrhotic patients, and 12.7% of the control group had type 2 diabetes. The study stated that in male HCC, data for patients with type 2 diabetes shows a direct association of HCC risk with insulin and sulphanylureas treatment and an inverse relationship with metformin therapy. In conclusion, the study demonstrates that type 2 diabetes is an independent risk factor for HCC and pre-exists in the majority of HCC patients.

For the complete article, click on Study Demonstrates Link Between Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Workout May Prevent Deadliest Forms of Cancer
10 August 2009

A new report suggests that a daily work out may be more powerful than a pill at killing off certain types of cancer. What scientists discovered in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention is that when they looked at more than 39,000 people for 17 years, those with the highest fitness levels or who exercised the most had a 34 to 44 percent lower risk of dying from digestive cancers such as colon and liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on Daily Workout May Prevent Deadliest Forms of Cancer

Alnylam and Tekmira Join Forces to Boost Delivery of RNAi Therapeutics
6 August 2009

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Tekmira Pharmaceuticas collaborate to discover cationic lipids, or positively charged lipids, and lipid nanoparticles for systemic delivery of RNAi, that would affect the body as a whole. This technology could improve potency and broaden distribution. The team will work out of the University of British Colombia and AlCana Technologies. “Alnylam and Tekmira will share in the development of new intellectual property that we believe will further extend our industry leadership position in the delivery of RNAi therapeutics,” adds Mark J. Murray, Tekmira’s president and CEO.

For the complete article, click on Alnylam and Tekmira Join Forces to Boost Delivery of RNAi Therapeutics

MDRNA Begins Primate Studies in Liver Cancer Program, Adds Bladder Cancer to Pipeline
6 August 2009

MDRNA began studies to find a new lead drug candidate by the end of the year. CSO Barry Polisky noted that the company has been able to demonstrate “efficient delivery and effective knockdown of multiple targets in rodents,” including an in-house rodent model of the liver cancer. Researchers found that UsiRNAs in which the bond between two adjacent carbon atoms of riboseis removed, trigger significant inhibition of apolipoprotien B. Months later, the scientists also found that the same drug could inhibit expression of a blood-clotting factor. Taking the testing to the next level with primates, explains Polisky, will study the tolerability of the RNAi drugs and provide functional, targeted data.

For the complete article, click on MDRNA Begins Primate Studies in Liver Cancer Program

Banner Touts Electrical Cancer Treatment
5 August 2009

Irreversible electroporation, using the NanoKnife, is a new treatment for liver cancer that is administered by radiologists. The procedure releases millisecond bursts of electricity, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 volts, behind the patient’s rib cage and straight to the liver. This treatment, as compared to chemotherapies or radiation, keeps organs intact and spares nerves, blood vessels, and other healthy tissue. the entire procedure lasts less than an hour. The US Food and Drug Administration had approved the NanoKnife for surgical ablation of soft tissue.

For the complete article, click on Banner Touts Electrical Cancer Treatment 

The Extremes of BMI a Cause for Concern in Liver Transplantation
4 August 2009

A recent study by doctors at the University of Washington explained that patients who are significantly underweight or very severely obese prior to liver transplantation are at increased risk of death following transplantation surgery. The research team was led by André A. S. Dick, M.D., Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, University of Washington. He investigated the impact of pre-transplantation Body Mass Index (BMI) on post-liver transplantation patient survival. The underweight patients had a higher re-transplantation rate because of the inability to graft, and they were more likely to die from hemorrhagic complications. Patients that were obese had higher rates of death due to infections complications.

For the complete article, click on The Extremes of BMI a Cause for Concern in Liver Transplantation

SAMe is Effective in Preventing Formation of Primary Liver Cancer in Rats
30 July 2009

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a widely available nutritional supplement found to be effective in preventing the formation of HCC in rats. Shelly Lu, M.D., of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and colleagues studied the effects of SAMe on chemoprevention and treatment of HCC. For the study, researchers injected IV SAMe into HCC tumors in rats. Monitoring the animals with MRI and ultrasound, the researchers found significantly reduced tumors and that IV SAMe prevented tumor development after 11 days.

For the complete article, click on SAMe is Effective in Preventing Formation of Primary Liver Cancer in Rats

Celsion and Yakult Honsha Announce Start-up of Japanese Clinical Trial Sites in Celsion’s Global Phase III ThermoDox Trial for Primary Liver Cancer
27 July 2009

Celsion Corporation extended its Phase III trial of ThermoDox to Japan making Yakult Honsha the exclusive licensor in Japan. Yakult is a leading Japanese company focused on the development and marketing of pharmaceuticals, foods, beverages, and cosmetics with an emerging presence in oncology. “Japan has the highest rate of liver cancer in industrialized countries,” said Dr. Kiyoshi Terada, Head, Pharmaceutical Division/Senior Managing Director. ThermoDox in combination with hyperthermia has the potential to provide local tumor control and improve quality of life.

For the complete article, click on Celsion and Yakult Honsha Announce Start-up of Japanese Clinical Trial Sites

Researchers Identify Genes Linked to Chemoresistance
20 July 2009

Researchers are examining ways to prevent resistance by determining the molecular mechanisms involved with cancer progression, and then developing new generations of chemotherapeutic agents. Researchers found two genes, astrocyte elecated gene-1 (AEG-1) and late SV40 factor (LSF), to contribute to resistance of a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug called 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The team found that over-expression of AEG-1 increase resistance of the liver cells to 5-FU. The researchers also identified that LSF, a transcription factor that regulates gene expression, is increased by AEG-1.

For the complete article, click on Researchers Identify Genes Linked to Chemoresistance

Twist Expression Promotes Migration and Invasion in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
18 July 2009

Twist, a synthesis of RNA factor, is reported to regulate cancer metastasis. It is known to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a program of development of biological cells characterized by loss of cell adhesion and increased cell mobility. The study evaluated the expression of twist and its effect on cell migration in HCC. The team examined 20 tissue samples of HCC and assessed twist expression. They found strong and intermediate twist expression in 7 of 20 tumor samples and no significant twist expression was found in the tumor-free resection margins. In conclusions, twist induces migratory effect on hepatocellular carcinoma by causing epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

For the complete article, click on Twist Expression Promotes Migration and Invasion in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Jae Jung to Lead Virus Control Study
17 July 2009

A team by Jae Jung, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC will explore the molecular mechanisms by which viruses evade the body’s immune response. Researchers will focus on how the host develops innate immune recognition and how viruses evolve. They will also focus on detecting HCV, an emerging pathogen associated with HCC.

For the complete article, click on Jae Jung to Lead Virus Control Study

In Memory of Mother: Vitamin K to Slow the Progression of Liver Cancer
12 July 2009

When scientist studied animal and human cells, they found that vitamin K may help control the progression of liver cancer. Japanese researchers divided 40 women with viral cirrhosis of the liver into two groups. One group received vitamin K daily, and the other did not. Two of the women in the group receiving vitamin K developed liver cancer as compared to the nine women in the other group who did. Therefore, vitamin K can lessen the odds of developing liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on In Memory of Mother: Vitamin K to Slow the Progression of Liver Cancer

High Protein Diet Linked to Liver Cancer
7 July 2009

Researchers in the United States have linked diets high in protein and cholesterol with a higher risk of liver disease. One study led by George Ioannou of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, found a high carbohydrate diet to be associated with a lover risk of liver disease. Following 9,221 participant over an average of 13.3 years, he found 118 participants received a new diagnosis of cirrhosis and five people with a diagnosis of liver cancer. These individuals were more likely to be male, diabetic, non-white, older, and more obese.

For the complete article, click on High Protein Diet Linked to Liver Cancer

FOCUS: Researchers to Compare Two Cancer Treatment Methods
6 July 2009

Several university specialists, including those of the University of Tokyo, have started doing research on two surgical methods currently available to patients with hepatoma, a tumor of the liver that is common in East Asia. They compared conventional surgical techniques to remove cancerous tissue with radiofrequency ablation (RFA). 75 hospitals across the country will register 600 patients in the next three years. Researchers will analyze the difference of the rate of cancer recurrence three years after the registration of patients and the rate of survival after two years.

For the complete article, click on FOCUS: Researchers to Compare Two Cancer Treatment Methods

Statin Use Prevents Liver Cancer Among Diabetics
1 July 2009

One study finds that patients with diabetes taking prescription statin drugs are at a reduced risk of liver cancer. Progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be lowered with statins. The results showed a significant inverse association between having statin prescriptions dilled and the risk of developing HCC.

For the complete article, click on Statin Use Prevents Liver Cancer Among Diabetics

MicroRNAs Show Promise for Detecting, Treating Cancer
30 June 2009

Scientist have discovered microRNAs which are no more than 20 nucleotides in length and do not uphold the long-thought belief that nucleotides are only passive carriers of genetic information. It turns out that microRNAs are non-coding RNAs that do not pass on the instructions for assembling proteins, but instead, act like proteins serving as potent regulators of gene expression. In a recent study, microRNA was able to distinguish the correct tissue for cancers of unknown primary origin with more than 90 percent accuracy. The role of microRNAs in carcinogenesis also makes them a promising target for treatment. Especially attractive is the fact that one microRNA can regulate many, even hundreds, of gene targets.

For the complete article, click on MicroRNAs Show Promise for Detecting, Treating Cancer

Progen’s PharmaSynth Secures Global Muparfotat License
30 June 2009

PharmaSynth Pty Lts, a subsidiary of Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited, has joined forces with Global TransBiotech Inc for the licensing of muparfostat. Progen has completed several Phase II clinical trials of muparfostat concluding with strong signs of efficacy in delaying the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following surgery to remove tumors. The treatment of liver cancer tumors will be the primary forces of further clinical development of muparfostat.

For the complete article, click on Progen’s PharmaSynth Secures Global Muparfotat License

Early MRI Response Monitoring of Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma under Treatment with the Multikinase Inhibitor Sorafenib
28 June 2009

Researchers are using an MRI to evaluate the new treatment, sorafenib.  Twenty-one patients with advanced HCC were assessed to form a base line. Most patients developed MRI signal changes within four weeks of therapy. Sorafenib induces early tumor cell necrosis in most HCC patients. Being able to view this more closely with MRI could help in a more rational and cost-effective application of this treatment.

For the complete article, click on Early MRI Response Monitoring of Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

The 249Ser Mutation of TP53 has High Prevalence and is Correlated with Larger and More Poorly Differentiated Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Brazilian Patients
26 June 2009

Observing the TP53 mutation ser-249 provides of a fungal toxin, which is a power liver carcinogen. Scientists have claimed that HBV works together with aflatoxin in the beginning processes of 249ser mutation. The aim of the study was to investigate the frequency of this mutation in HCC among patients in Brazil. Researchers studies 74 pieces of HCC samples from patients who had undergone surgical resection. The e249Ser mutation was found in 28 percent of the samples and HBV DNA was detected in 16 percent.

For the complete article, click on The 249Ser Mutation of TP53

Nanotechnology Approach for Advanced Drug Delivery of Water-Insoluble Therapeutics
22 June 2009

Many therapies and effector molecules that address several areas of medicine are not soluble in water, which limits the means by which those compounds can be administered to the body. A new study shows a way in which nano-diamonds can be used to enhance water dispersion of substances that would be insoluble in water. “Our work has realized the application of nano-diamond particles as vehicles for delivering water-insoluble therapeutics for applications in … liver cancer therapy (Purvalanol A),” stated Dean Ho, an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.

For the complete article, click on Nanotechnology Approach for Advanced Drug Delivery

The 6 Cancer-Fighting Foods You’re Not Eating Enough Of
22 June 2009

The phrase “you are what you eat” may be true. Eating unhealthy foods may cause your body to become susceptible to many diseases. Several foods can help prevent cancer and fight abnormal cell growth in people diagnosed with cancer. Avocados are rich in antioxidants that attack free radicals in the body, which are thought to be a major contributor to cancer. Avocados are also known for helping fight liver cancer. Flax also contains antioxidants, and when the seeds are crushed the oils produced can help fight cancer as well. Garlic is great for the immune system and can slow the development and growth of tumors. Grapefruits, oranges and grapes contain citrus which flushes the body of carcinogens.

For the complete article, click on The 6 Cancer-Fighting Foods You’re Not Eating Enough Of

Cancer Spread to Liver Responds to Experimental Treatment
22 June 2009

Percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP) is a procedure that targets tumors with a dose of chemotherapy that is ten times stronger than patients would otherwise receive. A special catheter applies the drug only to the liver, thus reducing the risk of damaging nearby organs and minimizing side effects. “This technique involves only a couple of small holes [in the skin] to place the catheters, so patients generally recover quickly and are released from the hospital in a day or two,” said Dr. Fred Moeslein, an interventional radiologist at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine who performs the procedure.

For the complete article, click on Cancer Spread to Liver Responds to Experimental Treatment

An Effective Target of Biological Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
15 June 2009

Several studies have shown activated STAT3 to be detected in many HCC cell lines, which suggests that it can be a promising molecular target for HCC gene therapy. RNA interference (RNAi) is a controlling, gene-silencing mechanism where the RNA sequences can be introduced into cells that show the expression of a particular gene. A research team led by Professor Piao from Liaoning Medical University and Jinlin University used RNAi to block sequences displaying STAT3 to evaluate its effects on tumor growth. Tests showed that by silencing STAT3 using RNAi increased cell death within the tumor and prevented proliferation and maturation of malignant cells.

For the complete article, click on An Effective Target of Biological Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

An Alternative Treatment for Hypervascular Hepatocellular Carcinoma
15 June 2009

Radio frequency Ablation (RFA) has been used more and more as a safe technique for treating tumors in the liver. However, RFA seems less effective on hypervascular hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Another treatment, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE), can reduce the blood supply of HCC by closing the arteries to the tumor. For the treatment of hypervascular HCC percutaneous arterial ablation (PAA) can be used to reduce, or even block, the blood flow to the tumors. A research team led by Professor Chen from Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital and Institute, studied 154 HCC patients with 177 hypervascular lesions, to evaluate the feasibility and adjuvant value (or how much the process could be sped up) of PAA performed before routine RFA treatment of hypervascular HCC. The combination of PAA and RFA may significantly decrease post-RFA recurrence and provide a safe and effective treatment for hypervascular HCC.

For the complete article, click on An Alternative Treatment for Hypervascular Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Is DKK-3 and WIF-1: Proteins Related to Liver Cancer Development?
15 June 2009

The Wnt-antagonist genes function as tumor-suppressors and contribute to the development of tissue of many human cancers. A study suggests that proteins written by DKK-3 and WIF-1 can act as cancer-associated proteins that relate with liver cancer development. Silencing the DKK-3 gene and the WIF-1 gene resulted from hypermethylation, or an activity of genes that can cause oncogenes to produce proteins that cause malignant behavior. The expression of DKK-3 is negatively related to the stage of tumor and cell growth. DKK-3 and WIF-1 may provide a reliable way to improve liver cancer early diagnosis and therapies.

For the complete article, click on Is DKK-3 and WIF-1: Proteins Related to Liver Cancer Development?

Preventive Effect of the Flavonoid, Quercetin, on Hepatic Cancer in Rats via Oxidant/Antioxidant Activity: Molecular and Histological Evidences
12 June 2009

Experiments were done to examine the effect of N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) as a cancer-inducer compound and to confirm the preventive effect of the flavonoid quercetin on hepatocellular carcinoma. Using 36 rats divided into three groups to prove the hypothesis true.

For the complete article, click on Preventive Effect of the Flavonoid, Quercetin, on Hepatic Cancer

Replacing MicroRNA for Cancer Treatment

Inserting a Missing Molecule in Mice May Shrink Liver Tumors or Limit Their Growth
11 June 2009

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported their findings on experiments in mice that showed that inserting one missing molecule could fight cancer without harming normal tissue. MircoRNAs are involved in a wide range of body processes relating to cellular differentiation, tissue growth, and regulate thousands of genes. The miR-26a was chosen because it was absent in liver cancer cells and abundant in normal liver cells. Joshua Mendell of Johns Hopkins, one of the study’s authors, expects promising results.

For the complete article, click on Replacing MicroRNA for Cancer Treatment

Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 Expression in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients Increases the Risk of Bone Metastases and Poor Survival
9 June 2009

Since chemokine, any of various cytokines produced in acute and chronic inflammation that mobilize and activate white blood cells, and bone marrow-homing receptor CXCR4 are concerned with the metastases of various cancers, a study was conducted to analyze the association of CXCR4 expression with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) bone metastasis and patient survival. CXCR4 over-expression was found in 34 of 43 patients with bone metastases and in 57 of 138 without bone metastases. CXCR4 expression correlated with, and predicted HCC bone metastases.

For the complete article, click on Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 Expression in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients

The Bug That Can Blast Away Cancer: Drug Made From Virus Extends Patients’ Lives
9 June 2009

Reolysin, a living virus, has been shown to kill off cancer cells by rupturing their walls that creates a chain reaction and rips through the tumor. By shrinking the tumor, it becomes less harmful, and easier to remove. Reolysin appears to simultaneously “wake up” the immune system to recognize cancer cells as invaders and attack them. Lead researcher Professor Alan Melcher said, “It is a completely different approach to treating cancer. It is not just another drug. It is a virus and it seems to be very well tolerated in combination with chemotherapy.”

For the complete article, click on The Bug That Can Blast Away Cancer

Coffee May Reduce Risk of Liver Cancer
8 June 2009

Researchers examined 18, 815 patients at the Japan Public Health Cenet-Based Prospective Study Cohort II, to assess whether coffee and green tea consumption was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer by hepatitis virus infection. Compared with “almost never” drinkers, increase coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer in all subjects. In addition, there was no association observed between green tea consumption and the risk of liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on Coffee May Reduce Risk of Liver Cancer

New Screening Test Could Reduce High Mortality Rates in Patients with Liver Cancer
3 June 2009

Dr. Jorge Filmus, a Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto has been developing a new test to proactively screen patients for liver cancer. His test would be able to find tumors while they are still small enough to remove, which would reduce the disease’s high mortality rate. The test uses antibodies to detect the presence of glypican-3, a biomarker in the patient’s blood. Most doctors use the alpha-fetoprotein blood test or an ultrasound. Dr. Filmus estimates the cost of his test would be $25 per patient. His lab is working with BioMosaics and Amorfix Life Sciences to increase the sensitivity of his test.

For the complete article, click on New Screening Test Could Reduce High Mortality Rates

Phase III Liver Cancer Drug Trials Announced
2 June 2009

Bayer, Roche, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals are beginning Phase III trials of Nexavar, which is seen as a possible treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. This trial will involve 700 patients in a random placebo control, which will examine the length of survival when Nexavar is used in conjunction with Tarceva. Dimitris Voliotis, the managing director and vice president for Nexavar Clinical Development at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceutical, said that the drug is the “only approved targeted therapy with efficacy and tolerability in liver cancer.”

For the complete article, click on Phase III Liver Cancer Drug Trials Announced

Programmed Cell Death 4 (PDCD4) Suppresses Metastatic Potential of Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
29 May 2009

Programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) has been shown to suppress tumor transformation. A study was done to observe the role of PDCD4 on the metastatic potential of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Using three HCC cell lines with different metastatic potentials, PDCD4 was transfected into the HCC cells while scientists monitored cell multiplication, programmed cell death, and invasion capacity. Results showed that the expression level of PDCD4 was inversely related to the metastatic potential of the HCC cells. Cell multiplicity was decrease while cell death was increased.

For the complete article, click on Programmed Cell Death 4 (PDCD4) Suppresses Metastatic Potential

Phase 3 Trial Initiated to Evaluate Combination Therapy of Nexavar(R) and Tarceva(R) in Patients with Liver Cancer
28 May 2009

Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Roche have begun Phase III clinical trial examining Nexavar tablets in combination with Tarceva as a new treatment option for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The study will involve 700 patients with hopes to prolong survival with Tarceva. Nexavar targets the tumor cells and vasculature.

For the complete article, click on Phase 3 Trial Initiated to Evaluate Combination Therapy

Video: Data on more than 15 Novartis Oncology Compounds at ASCO Highlight Progress Toward Targeted Therapies for Diverse Tumor Types
28 May 2009

Based on data from a Phase I clinical trial of Afinitor for patients with advanced liver cancer, 61 per cent of patients had tumors that were stabilized or reduced in size. The trial was conducted by Dr. Li-Tzong Chen of the National Health Research Institute in Taiwan. The study included 36 patients with HCC who were no longer candidates for local therapies including surgery, ablation, or chemoembolization.

For the complete article, click on Video: Data on more than 15 Novartis Oncology Compounds

DGAP-News: 4SC Presents Phase I Data on its Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitor 4SC-201 at ASCO
26 May 2009

Planegg-Martinsried, a German drug development company, and Royal Marsden Hospital in England presented their Phase I data on 4SC-201, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, in patients with solid tumors. The trial involved 18 patients who were given the drug orally. Eleven of the 18 patients were observed to have the disease stabilized. 4SC-201 showed a positive pharmacokinetic profile, which is the study of the action of the body on the particular drug. This indicated good bioavailability, the level of the substance that targets the tissue after administration. Dr Bernd Hentsch, Chief Development Officer at 4SC commented, “We are very excited about the Phase I results of 4SC-201, an innovative HDAC inhibitor. In addition, it is very encouraging to see that one patient has now completed one year of treatment and remains stable. We look forward to commencing our Phase II trial of 4SC-201 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) in the second half of this year and continue to evaluate an additional indication for a further trial this year.”

For the complete article, click on DGAP-News: 4SC Presents Phase I

Acculis: New Device for Liver Cancer Cleared
24 May 2009

Acculis Limited, a UK based specialist microwave ablation company based in England, announced the clearance of its latest device for coagulating and killing unwanted tissue during surgery. The Acculis MTA System coagulates at the surface of the tissue by firing controlled, high-power microwave energy into the target. Liver surgeons use the Acculis MTA system for tumors in the liver and use the needle probes to send microwave energy to the center of the tumors. The device has been made available for patients in the UK and Europe, including the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, North Hants Hospital Basingstoke, the Leicester Royal in Liverpool, and the North Manchester General.

For the complete article, click on Acculis: New Device for Liver Cancer Cleared

Sorafenib Approved in Japan for the Treatment of Advanced Liver Cancer
20 May 2009

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved sorafenib (Nexavar) tablets for the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Their decision was based on the positive findings from an international phase III clinical trial, which evaluated over 600 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The study found that sorafenib extended the overall survival rate by 44 percent in patients taking sorafenib verses those patients taking the placebo.

For the complete article, click on Sorafenib Approved in Japan for the Treatment of Advanced Liver Cancer

Light Sciences Oncology Announces Results of Study on Immunotherapeutic Mechanism of Aptocine(TM), a Novel Light-Activated Drug Therapy for Cancer
19 May 2009

Light Sciences Oncology, Inc. (LSO) has presented positive data on their new preclinical study of Aptocine, formerly known as Litx. Aptocine is a water-soluble drug activated by an included small, single-use, disposable drug activator. Aptocine was designed to provide tolerable, effective, and repeatable treatments for cancer patients. The drug activator contains a tiny array of LEDs, which a physician inserts into a tumor followed by an intravenous injection of Aptocine. In the study, conducted by Dr. Sandra Gollnick at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, Aptocine significantly prolonged survival in treated animals. Tumors were unable to develop in almost half of the animals.

For the complete article, click on Light Sciences Oncology Announces Results of Study on Immunotherapeutic

Meta-analysis of Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation versus Ethanol Injection in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
11 May 2009

Researchers looked at efficacy and safety of Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) that is performed as an injection through the skin, compared to the standard approach to treat nonresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with ethanol injection (PEI). The review involved observing overall survival, local recurrence rate and adverse side effects. The study concluded in support of the superiority of RFA verses PEI in terms of better survival and local control of the disease in patients with HCC.

For the complete article, click on Meta-analysis of Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation versus Ethanol Injection

Celsion’s Heat Activated Liposomal Technology to be Featured in a Keynote Address at the International Nanotech and Biotechnology Innovation Conference
11 May 2009

Prof. David Needham, Ph.D., from the Department of Engineering and Material Science at Duke University is the inventor of the lysolipid thermally sensitive liposomes (LTSL) technology for the treatment of local tumors. LTSL technology allows high concentrations of chemotherapeutics to be directly injected into a tumor. LTSL is the basis for ThermoDox, which Celsion has advanced into a global phase III clinical trial treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

For the complete article, click on Celsion’s Heat Activated Liposomal Technology

CyberKnife: Hurting the Tumor, Not the Patient
11 May 2009

A new technology, known as CyberKnife, has recently been introduced in Birmingham, Alabama. CyberKnife is the first and only robotic radiosurgery system and is an alternative to surgery to treat both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. This treatment uses high radiation beams to precisely find the tumor. It is an outpatient procedure and only takes half an hour.

For the complete article, click on CyberKnife: Hurting the Tumor, Not the Patient

Statin Drugs May Protect Against Cancer and also Result in Fewer Gallbladder Removals
6 May 2009

Statin use has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among patients with diabetes. The researchers’ study looked at the transmission and control of the disease in patients with diabetes that were at a higher risk of HCC. The team found a significant inverse association between taking statin and the risk of HCC.

For the complete article, click on Statin Drugs May Protect Against Cancer

Hope for Cancer
3 May 2009

There are many treatments for liver disease including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and patients should fully understand all the options available:

  • Chemoembolization involves the injection of one or more cancer drugs directly into the blood vessels that nourish the tumor, which targets the tumors without poisoning the rest of the body.
  • Radio-Active Particle Implant (RAPI), in the form or brachytherapy, is a type of radiation therapy in which radioactive materials are placed in direct contact with the tissue being treated.
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is used to kill tumor cancer cells by using heat generated by an ultrasound.
  • With lymphocyte/NK cell transfusions, compatible blood from the closest relatives is collected and the lymphocytes, the white blood cells that fight infection and disease, are isolated. The NK cells, or natural killer cells, which are the body’s main cancer-fighting cells, are isolated, and the NK-rich fraction is transfused into the patient.
  • Nano transfusion makes it possible to deliver tiny, radioactive atoms and chemotherapy molecules to cancer cells throughout the body with minimal harm to normal cells.

For the complete article, click on Hope for Cancer

Women with Hypothyroidism More Prone to Liver Cancer
5 May 2009

According to one study led by Manal Hassan of Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, women who have a history of hypothyroidism may be at a greater risk of developing liver cancer. There have also been many other studies linked to hepatitis C. Hassan’s study involved 420 patients with liver cancer. He and his team of researchers found that the patients with a history of hypothyroidism had twice the risk of liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on Women with Hypothyroidism More Prone to Liver Cancer

Drug-Eluting Beads Significantly Reduce Doxorubicin Toxicity in Patients with HCC: Presented at EASL
29 April 2009

Researchers presented their findings on drug-eluting glass “beads” (DEB-TACE) that are filled with doxorubicin at the 44th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver (RASL). The “beads” may be better than treating with transarterial chemoembolization (c-TACE) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). DEB-TACE produced a significantly higher objective response and disease control among patients who had a more advanced stage of HCC. The study involved 200 patients that received either DEB-TACE or c-TACE. DEB-TACE may be superior because the beads better moderate the doxorubicin uptake and provide a more gradual and long-lasting treatment.

For the complete article, click on Drug-Eluting Beads Significantly Reduce Doxorubicin Toxicity in Patients with HCC

Sorafenib Increases Overall Survival in Asian Patients with Liver Cancer and Lung, Lymph Node Metastasis: Presented at EASL
29 April 2009

Hongming Pan MD from the Centre for Oncology at Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital and the Medical School of Zhejiang University in China presented their findings on the safety and effectiveness of sorafenib in patients form the Asia-Pacific region with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These findings were based on a subgroup analysis done on the results form a multicenter phase III trial done in China, Taiwan, and South Korea. The 226 patients they researched had HCC that had resulted from chronic hepatitis C infection. Overall, the patients’ survival with lung metastasis was 5.6 months for those receiving sorafenib in comparison to 4.2 months for those receiving the placebo.

For the complete article, click on Sorafenib Increases Overall Survival in Asian Patients with Liver Cancer

Geisinger Opens Expanded Cancer Facility
29 April 2009

Geisinger introduced their newly expanded 34,000-square-foot Frank and Dorthea Henry Cancer Center. The new addition is stocked with $5 million in new cancer treatment equipment and two newly recruited members of the treatment teams. The upgrades include nine new infusion chairs for chemotherapy in the new Healing Garden with four waterfalls. They also built 20 new clinical examination rooms, and installed two new Trilogy linear accelerators for radiation treatment that track the movement of tumors during treatment. By tracking the movement, the accelerator can pulse radiation when the tumor is in the target field. There has also been hinting at a soon-to-be announced liver cancer therapy.

For the complete article, click on Geisinger Opens Expanded Cancer Facility

Biocompatibles Reports Positive Results from Liver Cancer Patient Trial
28 April 2009

A trial of Biocompatibles International PLC’s drug-eluting bead for patients with primary liver cancer was conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland under the supervision of Prof. Jean-François Geschwind, a professor of radiology. The study involved 20 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and showed positive results. Prof. Geschwind is now recruiting patients for a phase II clinical trial evaluating the potential usefulness of sorafenib in conjunction with the drug-eluting bead. The trial is part of a clinical collaboration between Biocompatibles and Bayer Pharmaceuticals Inc.

For the complete article, click on Biocompatibles Reports Positive Results from Liver Cancer Patient Trial

Severe Adverse Events with Sirolimus More Frequent than Past Studies Suggest: Presented at EASL
28 April 2009

Based on one study, one third of patients who were treated with sirolimus after liver transplantation stopped treatments within the first month because of intolerable adverse effects. The review consisted of 109 patients who had undergone liver transplantation. Of those, 71 received sirolimus as a monotherapy. The median time on sirolimus was 295 days.

For the complete article, click on Severe Adverse Events with Sirolimus More Frequent than Past Studies Suggest

Phase 3 Trial of Nexavar in Chemotherapy-Naive Patients with Advanced Melanoma Does Not Meet Primary Endpoint
27 April 2009

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that based on the results of their Phase III trial for sorafenib (Nexavar), their trial was stopped for a planned interim analysis by a Data Monitoring Committee (DMC). Nexavar was given to the patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma in the form of tablets. The DMC then concluded that the clinical trial would not meet the primary endpoint of improved overall survival among its patients who were also receiving chemotherapeutic agents as compared to patients who were receiving the placebo and the chemotherapeutic agents. The trials were being held in more than 200 sites in the US and Australia. The DMC also reported that there were no unexpected serious side effects.

For the complete article, click on Phase 3 Trial of Nexavar in Chemotherapy-Naive Patients

Aveo Reports Positive Preclinical Data from Liver Cancer Trial
27 April 2009

Aveo Pharmaceuticals presented positive data on its preclinical models of a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitor, AV-951 in genetically engineered hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in mice. Aveo was able to reconstruct HCC in mice that are very similar to human HCC. Then, using AV-951 on the mice, Aveo suggested that it might be an effective single-agent treatment for human HCC.

For the complete article, click on Aveo Reports Positive Preclinical Data from Liver Cancer Trial

Amorfix Signs Agreement with BioMosaics for Liver Cancer Blood Test
23 April 2009

Amorfix Life Sciences, Ltd., a Canada-based company that focuses on the development of therapeutic products and diagnostic devises, has partnered with BioMosaics, Inc. to develop a blood-based analysis for the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). BioMosaics is a cancer biomarker development company and has the expertise, while Amorfix has the capability to develop their new idea. The blood test is based on the antibodies for the biomarker Glypican-3.

For the complete article, click on Amorfix Signs Agreement with BioMosaics for Liver Cancer Blood Test

Are TACE Treatments Really Well Tolerated Without any Sensible Reduction of Liver Function?
21 April 2009

Dr. Sacco and his group of researchers from the Gastroenterology Department of Pisa University Hospital in Italy studied patients affected by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to evaluate the short and long term affects of TACE on liver function. The study showed that in a two-year period TACE treatments were well tolerated without reduction of liver function. The study also showed the HCC progression free survival probability was 69 percent.

For the complete article, click on Are TACE Treatments Really Well Tolerated?

OXiGENE Begins Phase 1b/2a Trial of OXi4503
21 April 2009

OXiGENE, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for cancer and eye diseases, began a Phase 1b/2a study of its dual-mechanism, second-generation vascular disrupting agent (VDA) called OXi4503.  OXi4503 blocks and destroys tumor vasculature resulting in tumor cell death.  Preclinical data shows that OXi4503 is metabolized by oxidative enzymes that infiltrate blood cells with the specific type of chemical compound, orthoquinone, which is directly toxic to the tumor cells and prevent growth.  This study is being conducted in Australia with 63 patients with solid tumors with hepatic involvement, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  The study is designed to evaluate safety, tolerability, and maximum tolerated dosage.

For the complete article, click on OXiGENE Begins Phase 1b/2a Trial of OXi4503

Calcutta Brain Shows Nano Test to Fight Cancer
20 April 2009

Sudipta Basu, a young biochemist and alumnus of Presidency College, and now working on post-doctoral research at MIT had found a way of combining diverse cancers.  He has designed tiny particles to ferry molecules, or fuse their nuclei with light intensity, which interfere with cancer mechanisms and make tumors better respond to chemotherapy.  Basu and his colleagues have engineered nanoparticles, particles that are so tiny that their size in billionths of a meter, that allow them to evade the immune system and selectively seek out tumors. They use these nanoparticles to deliver special molecules that suppress the activity of an enzyme called MAPK that has been implicated in several cancers.

For the complete article, click on Calcutta Brain Shows Nano Test to Fight Cancer

Can-Fite to Initiate Phase I/II Liver Cancer Trial
20 April 2009

Can-Fite, an Israeli biotechnology company, began a Phase I/II clinical trial of their CF102 for the treatment of liver cancer.  The trial will be conducted at the Rabin Medical Center involving 40 patients.  CF102 works by binding to the A3 adenosine receptor, which is a biochemical compound attached to a sugar molecule, and causes programmed cell death.  The receptor is highly expressed on the surface of cancer and inflammatory cells.  Preclinical trials have shown significantly positive results for the treatment of liver cancer.

For the complete article, click on Can-Fite to Initiate Phase I/II Liver Cancer Trial

Vitamin K with Sorafenib Active Against Pancreas Cancer and Liver Cancer
17 April 2009

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center have shown that vitamin K along with sorafenib (Nexavar) had a greater effect on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). They have shown activity against the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting the extracellular single-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. In the two studies that were done, both vitamin K1 and K2 enhanced the effects of sorafenib in HCC by inhibiting growth, inducing cell death and decreasing the expression of ERK.

For the complete article, click on Vitamin K with Sorafenib Active Against Pancreas Cancer and Liver Cancer

Delcath Continues Expansion of Clinical Trial Centers Offering PHP (TM)
9 April 2009

The OhioStateUniversityComprehensiveCancerCenter-JamesCancerHospital and Solove Research Institute has joined Delcath’s Phase III clinical trial of metastatic melanoma in the liver.  They will help test Delcath’s Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion (PHP) System for the isolated, high-dose delivery of the anti-cancer agent called melphalan.  Delcath is testing the delivery of ultra-high doses of this anti-cancer drug to the liver while preventing the high doses from entering the patient’s blood stream.  Dr. Mark Bloomston, a surgical oncologist specializing in regional cancer therapy, and serving as the Principal Investigator said, “This technology offers a very promising approach for targeting the disease in the liver and we are eager to provide this modality to our patients.”  The James Cancer Hospital is ranked among the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation.

For the complete article, click on Delcath Continues Expansion of Clinical Trial Centers Offering PHP (TM)

Data on AVEO Pharmaceuticals’ AV-951 in Liver Cancer Model and Preclinical Activity in SCH 900105 (AV-299) to be Presented at AACR 100th Annual Meeting
9 April 2009

AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company will display their breakthrough discoveries in cancer biology with hopes of developing and commercializing targeted oncology therapies, at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research April 18-22 in Denver.  Their presentations will include preclinical data of their new triple-VEGFR inhibitor (AV-951), a potential treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and their first antibody SCH 900105 (AV-299) to begin clinical development. SCH 900105 (AV-299) is a very strong type of antibody that has been synthesized using recombinant DNA technology to avoid the clinical problem of immune response to foreign antigens in the cytoplasmic mass of the liver.  It has demonstrated excellent activity in preclinical models of human cancer.  To guide the clinical development of SCH 900105 (AV-299), AVEO is using its proprietary, genetically engineered models of human cancer to identify molecular signatures that define subpopulations of cancer that are more likely to respond to it.

For the complete article, click on Data on AVEO Pharmaceuticals’ AV-951 in Liver Cancer Model

Cancer Warning Signs: Sounding the Alarm During Cancer Control Month
8 April 2009

April is Cancer Control Month and a good time to remember a healthy life style and routine check-ups and screenings.  Weakness and fatigue are a signal to see your physician.  If you experience unexplained weight loss this could be an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers, and a sign that cancer could have spread to the liver affecting your appetite and the ability of your body to rid itself of waste.  Also, changes in nails, such as streaks under the nail, changes in the shape of mails or fingers, and pale nails could indicate lung and liver problems.

For the complete article, click on Cancer Warning Signs: Sounding the Alarm During Cancer Control Month

Tekmira’s Partner Alnylam Initiates Phase I Liver Cancer Trial
8 April 2009

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals began a Phase I clinical trial of ALN-VSP in the United States.  ALN-VSP is a treatment targeting advanced liver cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  The treatment uses a new technology called Stable Nucleic-Acidlipid Particle Technology (SNALP) developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company.  The trial will involve 55 patients with advanced solid tumors to test safety, tolerability, and observe the effects on the body, including processes of absorption, distribution, and localization in tissues when given intravenously.

For the complete article, click on Tekmira’s Partner Alnylam Initiates Phase I Liver Cancer Trial

Attacking Liver Cancer with Highly Concentrated Chemo Dose
31 March 2009

Researchers at the Nation Institutes for Health are looking into a new approach known as percutaneous hepatic perfusion, or PHP, which is an extremely aggressive form of chemotherapy that targets cancer that has spread to the liver.  With PHP doctors use balloons, like those used in heart surgery, to seal off a patient’s liver to directly apply the super-high dose of chemo without it spreading throughout the body.  Dr. Elliot Levy, of the NIH uses x-ray images to inflate the balloons which block the blood from exiting as usual.  Dye is injected to verify the seal is properly maintained.  Then the chemo is administered through a drip for 30 minutes.

For the complete article, click on Attacking Liver Cancer with Highly Concentrated Chemo Dose

BioMosaics’ Glypican-3 Antibody (clone 1G12) Validated at PhenoPath Laboratories for Immunohistochemical Detection of Liver Cancer
26 March 2009

BioMosaics Inc., a cancer biomarker development company, announced today that its monoclonal antibody product (clone 1G12) for detection of Glypican-3 (GPC3) has been validated for use as an immunohistochemical test for diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) by PhenoPath Laboratories.  Immunohistochemistry or IHC refers to the process of localizing proteins in cells of a tissue section for examination, since specific molecular markers are characteristic of particular cellular events.  “We are pleased that PhenoPath has added the 1G12 Glypican-3 antibody to its test menu. Immunohistochemistry using this antibody provides added specificity to the identification of HCC in patient tissue samples,” said Dr. Mark Allegretta, BioMosaics Chief Scientific Officer.

For the complete article, click on BioMosaics’ Glypican-3 Antibody

New Therapy Offers Hope for Liver Patients in Taiwan
25 March 2009

The Taipei Veterans General Hospital now uses Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT).  SIRT uses tiny microspheres containing a radioactive yttrium-90, and has shown significant effects on hindering the growth of liver cancer.  This technique was originally developed in Australia in the 1980s.  According to Lee Rheun-chuan, a radiologist at the hospital, 41 received SIRT for primary or secondary liver cancer.  When follow-up exams were done six to eight weeks after, doctors found that the liver tumors had shrunk and brought under control in 95% of the patients.

For the complete article, click on New Therapy Offers Hope for Liver Patients in Taiwan

Celsion Recieves Orphan Drug Designation for ThermoDox® to Treat Primary Liver Cancer
24 March 2009

The FDA has granted Celsion Corporation, a leading oncology company, orphan drug designation for its new compound, ThermoDox.  Orphan drug designation gives Celsion seven years of market exclusivity following FDA approval, FDA assistance in clinical trial design, and other tax benefits.  ThermoDox is specifically aimed at hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  It works by delivering the antibiotic, doxorubicin, in a small bubble made out of the same material as cell membrane that is activated with heat.  It is currently in a global Phase III trial involving 600 patients.

For the complete article, click on Celsion Recieves Orphan Drug Designation for ThermoDox®

Treatment Approach Using Radiofrequency Waves Heats Up
24 March 2009

A retired radio engineer and executive John Kanzius came to the realization that radio frequency (RF) is an ideal way to attack cancer cells from outside the body.  At low levels, RF can heat up metal to 130° F in minutes, while not doing any harm to healthy tissue.  Kanzuis used RF waves to heat up metal nanoparticles that found their way into cancer cells.  Dr. David Geller from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Dr. Steven A Curley from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center used RF to heat up liver tumors in rats using gold nanoparticles that were injected directly onto the tumors.  Both are still working to find molecules that are highly specific to cancer cells.

Currently Texas-based Nanospectra Biosciences received approval from the FDA for their Phase I study using a devise that emits near-infrared light to heat up gold nanoparticles in tumors.  Also, MagForce in Germany developed a device that uses and alternating magnetic field to heat up magnetized nanoparticles.  They are also testing it in Phase I and II trials in Europe.

For the complete article, click on Treatment Approach Using Radiofrequency Waves Heats Up

New Hope for Liver Cancer Patients, UK
24 March 2009

During a meeting at the Pelican Cancer Foundation in Basingstoke, England, a group of leading liver specialists launched revised guidelines for the management of suspected hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in adults.  The Hepatocellular UK Group (HUG) hopes that the revised guidelines improve the prognosis of patients with a primary malignancy of the liver.  The new guidelines cover two areas of clinical practice.  The first are relates to diagnosis and surveillance of high-risk individuals.  The second area is treatment of the patient where the diagnosis has been made.

For the complete article, click on New Hope for Liver Cancer Patients, UK

Long-Term L-Carnitine Supplementation Prevents Development of Liver Cancer
24 March 2009

A group of researchers led by Prof. Sayed-Ahmed from College of Pharmacy at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia observed the role of carnitine, a naturally occurring compound that is synthesized in the liver during development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  They reported that carnitine deficiency is a risk factor in the development of HCC.  The researchers recommended carnitine supplements alone or in combination with other natural chemo-preventive compounds.  The team, using carnitine-depleted rats, showed an increase in the activities of liver enzymes as well as major degenerative changes, along with evidence of abnormal growth and lesions in liver tissue.  Once the rats received L-Carnitine supplementation there was a complete reversal of the increase in liver enzymes.

For the complete article, click on Long-Term L-Carnitine Supplementation Prevents Development of Liver Cancer

Know the Cyberknife
17 March 2009

The Cyberknife is a breakthrough technology that expands the potential of precision radio surgery.  It is the world’s first and only system that can treat tumors down to the sub-millimeter in any part of the body.  Advancements in imaging, computerized treatment planning, and radiation delivery enable the utmost sophistication in radiotherapy.  These advancements, known as Image Guided Radio Therapy (IGRT), enhance the quality of treatment through better target delineation, dose delivery, and the saving of normal tissue.

IGRT integrates CT, MRI and PET scans and displays the 3D target volume and 4D target localization.  Cyberknife is a painless outpatient procedure, available to infants, young children, and adults.  It does not require anesthesia or a sterotactic frame being affixed to the skull or body.  Cyberknife can be offered as an alternative to surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

For the complete article, click on Know the Cyberknife

Nexavar Approved for Treatment of Liver Cancer in New Zealand
17 March 2009

Nexavar, or sorafenib, a cancer therapy drug, was initially used in New Zealand last year for treating advanced kidney cancer.  It has recently been approved for treating patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  Originally created by Bayer Schering Pharma and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, it works by slowing down tumor growth and reducing its blood supply.  Nexavar is already approved for HCC in Europe, Australia, and the US.  In an international Phase III study involving 602 patients demonstrated improved overall survival by 44% in patients with inoperable liver cancer.  Other clinics in New Zealand are participating in other studies to look at the benefit of using Nexavar earlier to prevent recurrence after surgery.

For the complete article, click on Nexavar Approved for Treatment of Liver Cancer in New Zealand

Anti-Tumor Drugs Based on Folkman’s Legacy Reaching Market
13 March 2009

A 30-year-old drug design discovered by the late Judah Folkman, a medical researcher, is once again hitting the marketplace.  His idea, anti-angiogenesis, attacks the blood vessels that grow to support the tumors, and includes other compounds that disable the body from supporting the diseased tissues.  Folkman first worked on this treatment at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and now a new company, SynDevRx is developing two new drugs based on his work.  The two drugs, Caplostatin and Lodamin, target an enzyme that controls the vascular cells.  Another company, Ariad, in Cambridge, has two drug candidates in Phase I, II, and III trials.  In addition, ArQule, a pharmaceutical company in Massachusetts is expanding its clinical development program for ARQ 197, a small molecule inhibitor, to include hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

For the complete article, click on Anti-Tumor Drugs Based on Folkman’s Legacy Reaching Market

Artificial Liver Extends Lives
10 March 2009

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, more that 6,000 people receive a liver transplant in the US.  A new technology, similar to dialysis for the kidney, is being applied to the liver.  The out-of-body artificial liver cleanses a patient’s plasma through the dialysis membrane in the machine, which then filters through human liver cells.  Dr. Robert Brown, a liver disease and liver transplant specialist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Colombia in New York stated, “The plasma then bathes these liver cells, and the liver cells perform their function and return purified and detoxified plasma to the patient.”

For the complete article, click on Artificial Liver Extends Lives

MDS Nordion Launches Improved TheraSphere ® Administration System for Physicians
9 March 2009

MDS Nordion, a business unit of MDS Inc., is a leading provider of medical isotopes and radio-pharmaceuticals.  TheraSpere, using the Yttrium-90 microsphere (Y-90), is a targeted radiation therapy for patients with inoperable primary liver cancer.  It is a low toxicity therapy that consists of millions of micro-glass beads containing radioactive Y-90.  The recent enhancements to the administration system allow for safer, faster, and more efficient administration, which provides better treatment deliver for patients.  The system now has fewer parts and is easier to assemble, which reduces set-up time for physicians by 50%.  The disposable tubing and tubing connections have been re-designed to minimize barriers and optimize fluid pathway and dose delivery.

For the complete article, click on MDS Nordion Launches Improved TheraSphere

Laparoscopic Management of Liver Cancer is Feasible in Cirrhotic Patients: Presented at SSO
9 March 2009

At the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) 62ndAnnual Cancer Symposium, researchers noted that patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cirrhosis can be managed laparoscopically, using a thin fiber-optic scope through a body cavity. Looking at 221 procedures in 161 patients, survival was 80% at a follow-up at eleven months.

For the complete article, click on Laparoscopic Management of Liver Cancer

Proteomics Prove Accurate In Identifying Liver Cancer
5 March 2009

A study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in Massachusetts, demonstrated a mass-spectrometry based form of proteomic profiling, which is the study of proteins by observing their wavelengths of light. They found that this is more accurate than traditional biomarkers in distinguishing liver cancer patients from patients with hepatitis C. Examining 92 patients, researchers were able to identify an 11-protein signature that accurately differentiates between cirrhosis and cancer.

The best hope for early detection is cancer biomarkers, which are the serum proteins found in blood and other body fluids. The current biomarker for liver cancer is the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a substance normally produced by liver cells. Patients with hepatitis C are routinely monitored for AFP levels.

For the complete article, click on Proteomics Prove Accurate In Identifying Liver Cancer

A Vaccine Offers Instant Immunity
3 March 2009

By exposing the body’s immune system to inactive forms of a virus or bacteria, a vaccine trains antibodies to fight off the invasion. While vaccines prepare antibodies, they do not give specific instructions on how exactly to do it. This is part of the reason why it can take several weeks or months for vaccines to build up an effective immune response. Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in Florida have begun to develop pre-programmed chemicals that bind antibodies and tell them how to recognize part of a pathogen. Through their experiments, the researchers found that these chemicals promoted a therapeutic immune response that inhibited the growth of two types of tumors in mice.

Additionally, in the past few years, researchers have identified cell-surface markers that are unique to cancer cells, called adjuvants. Adjuvants trick the immune system into recognizing and attacking tumors. Researchers continue to find ways to genetically engineer antibodies that will be able to recognize tumor markers and attack cancer.

For the complete article, click on A Vaccine Offers Instant Immunity

Liver Tumors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome Differ from Other Tumours
25 February 2009

Valerie Paradis and colleagues at Beaujon Hospital in Paris, France, found that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients whose only risk factor is metabolic syndrome, has distinct forms and structures as compared with other liver tumors. Their retrospective analysis included 128 patients who had undergone surgery to remove a liver tumor. Hepatitis B or C was the cause of HCC in 81 patients while 31 patients showed metabolic syndrome as their only risk factor.

For the complete article, click on Liver Tumors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome Differ from Other Tumors

Nexavar Provides Significant Overall Survival Benefit in Patients with Advanced Liver Cancer Across Multiple Geographic Regions
17 February 2009

Taken orally, Nexavar is the only targeted therapy approved for the treatment of advanced HCC. It targets both the tumor cell and the tumor vasculature, or the vascular network of an organ. Two Phase III clinical trials determined that Nexavar tablets provide a significant overall survival benefit for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These two studies enrolled patients from Europe, North America, South America, Australia and the Asia Pacific.

For the complete article, click on Nexavar Provides Significant Overall Survival Benefit in Patients

Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Aggressive Progression of Liver Cancer
17 February 2009

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have identifies a gene, AEG-1, that plays a key role in regulating liver cancer progression. After examining human liver cancer rumor cells from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), they found that the expression of AEG-1 increases as the tumor becomes more aggressive. Researchers also determined that AEG-1 expression of genes is relevant to the progression of HCC, including invasion, metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy.

“AEG-1 also activates multiple intracellular signaling pathways that are known to be involved in HCC progression. So, strategies to inhibit AEG-1 that could lead to the shutdown of these pathways, either by small molecules or by siRNAs, might be an important therapeutic modality for HCC patients,” said principal investigator Devan Sarkar, Ph.D., MBBS, assistant professor in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics in the VCU School of Medicine.

For the complete article, click on Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Aggressive Progression of Liver Cancer

Treat Viral Hepatitis, Liver Cancer with New Molecule
12 February 2009

Researchers at the department of Gene Therapy and Hepatology at the Centre for Applied Medical Research at the University of Navarra in Spain have identified a molecule, which can be potentially effective in treating chronic hepatitis and liver cancer. They found that dendritic cells, which are natural proteins produced by the immune system that respond to foreign agents, also produce Oncostatin M, along with type 1 interferon, during viral infection. This shows that the combination of Oncostatin M and type 1 interferon can be used to treat viral diseases. Digna Biotech, a Spanish biotechnology company, will further develop this new combination for clinical application.

For the complete article, click on Treat Viral Hepatitis, Liver Cancer with New Molecule

New Drug for Liver Cancer
10 February 2009

Nexavar, a new drug for the treatment of advanced, inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma, has been available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Prof. Simone Strasser, chair of the Digestive Health Foundation, stated that since its inclusion on the PBS, the drug is available to people regardless of their socio-economic status. Nexavar has been shown to extend life and significantly improve overall survival by 44%.

For the complete article, click on New Drug for Liver Cancer

Radiofrequency Treatment Better than Ethanol Injection for Small Liver Tumors, Study Suggests
9 February 2009

The American Association for the Study Of Liver Diseases (AASLD) recommends percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) as a safe and effective treatment for small hepatocellular carcinomas. Recently, four trials that directly compare PEI to radiofrequency ablation (RFA) stated that RFA significantly improved patients’ survival.

Dr. Yun Ku Cho and his team of researchers in Seoul, South Korea, conducted several searches for studies on the comparison of RFA and PEI between 1978 and 2008 and found that many trials “identified definite survival benefit favoring RFA compared to PEI.” Their research also showed a significant improvement in the three-year survival for patients who had undergone RFA.

For the complete article, click on Radiofrequency Treatment Better than Ethanol Injection for Small Liver Tumors

American Cancer Society Grant Funds Liver Cancer Research
3 February 2009

Dr. Zhaowen Zhu, an assistant research scientist in internal medicine at the University of Iowa, is leading a study to better understand the causes of liver cancer. An enzyme called Telomerase, which promotes longevity of most cells, has been associated with the development of cancer. Zhu and his team will study hepatitis C proteins, observe the potential increase in the activity of telomerase, and reach a possible explanation for how hepatitis C causes cancer.

For the complete article, click on American Cancer Society Grant Funds Liver Cancer Research

Avastin® Plus Traceva® Shows Promise in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
3 February 2009

Based on results from a Phase II clinical trial, Avastin and Tarceva, together, showed anticancer activity in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Acastin is an anticancer drug that targets the growth of new blood vessels by inhibiting a protein that deprives the cancer of oxygen and nutrients. Traceva works by blocking the pathway involved in cell growth and replication when it is mutated.

The Phase II clinical study consisted of 40 patients that had non-resectable tumors. 63% of the patients remained free of cancer progression for 16 weeks.

For the complete article, click on Avastin® Plus Traceva® Shows Promise in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Surgeons Use Microwave Technology to Destroy Tumors
3 February 2009

Microwave ablation is a new minimally invasive treatment for liver tumors. This technology uses the heat produced from radiofrequency waves to destroy abnormal tissues. The procedure is done with a small antenna that pierces through the skin into the tumor. The antenna then emits microwaves, producing friction, which in turn, produces heat, causing cellular death at 140°F.

Dr. Marquis Hart, a transplant surgeon at UC San Diego Medical Center, states, “Microwave ablation causes the tumor to be quickly and precisely removed. If necessary, multiple tumors can be treated at the same time … This method appears to be more efficient than other ablation techniques, which translates to better tumor destruction and less time for the patient under general anesthesia.”

For the complete article, click on Surgeons Use Microwave Technology to Destroy Tumors

Protein Predicts Liver Cancer Recurrence and Metastasis after Transplantation
1 February 2009

A new study shows that a protein, Capn4, involved with cell migration, can be associated with liver cancer recurrence and metastasis after liver transplantation. Capn4 can be used as a biomarker for diagnosis and a target for therapy. Researchers at the Liver Cancer Institute in Shanghai studied liver cancer cells in search of proteins associated with recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation. They were able to identify 149 protients, but primarily focused on Capn4, which had a significant correlation with tumor number, maximum tumor size and tumor encapsulation.

For the complete article, click on Protein Predicts Liver Cancer Recurrence and Metastasis after Transplantation

Early and Very Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma: When and How Much do Staging and Choice of Treatment Really Matter? A Multi-Center Study
27 January 2009

Researchers looked at 530 HCC patients, and investigated how many patients were diagnosed in “very early” and “early” stage based on treatment and whether their survival depends on treatment. Because most patients with “very early” HCC were not treated with the treatment suggested as the most appropriate by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) guidelinees thus the type of treatment had no impact on survival. The “early” stage group was also rarely treated according to the AASLD guidelines, but their survival was partially predicted by the type of treatment.

For the complete article, click on Early and Very Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Solitary Necrotic Nodule of the Liver Mimicking Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Case Study
25 January 2009

Solitary necrotic nodule is a rare lesion on the liver, which looks similar on x-ray pictures as those of tumors, or other masses on the liver. In such instances, liver resection is necessary to determine what the actual entity is and rule out hepatocellular carcinoma. Symptoms of solitary necrotic nodule include abdominal pain and high fever.

For the complete article, click on Solitary Necrotic Nodule of the Liver Mimicking Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Alnylam Receives Clearance from FDA to Initiate Phase I Study with ALN-VSP for the Treatment of Liver Cancers
23 January 2009

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc is a leading RNAi therapeutics company. Their new drug, ALN-VSP, has been cleared by the FDA and they began enrolling patients for a Phase I clinical trial. ALN-VSP is an RNAi therapeutic for liver cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma, designed to target two genes critical in the growth and development of cancer.

RNA interference, or RNAi, focuses on understanding how genes are turned on and off in the cells, the natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms. RNAi therapeutics targets the cause of diseases by preventing disease-causing proteins from being made.

For the complete article, click on Alnylam Receives Clearance from FDA to Initiate Phase I Study

Nexavar Effective for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Asians
21 January 2009

Nexavar, or sorafenib, is a targeted therapy that interferes with the specific biological pathways associated with the growth and spread of cancer cells. Researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial with 226 Asian patients to show effectiveness against hepatocellular carcinoma. The overall survival of patients receiving Nexavar was six and a half months. The most common serious side effects include diarrhea and fatigue. Researchers stated that Nexavar “seems to be an appropriate option for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.”

For the complete article, click on Nexavar Effective for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Asians

TRIP-Br2 Promotes Oncogenesis in Nude Mice and is Frequently Overexpressed in Multiple Human Tumors
20 January 2009

Clinicopathologic (the signs and symptoms manifested by a patient) and laboratory results were studied to assess whether or not TRIP-Br2 could be a possible prognostic marker of human cancer, and a chemotherapeutic drug target. Researchers found overexpression of TRIP-Br2, which was ample to change the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) of mice and promote new growths. Clinicopathologic correlation also indicates that overexpression of TRIP-Br2 in hepatocellular carcinoma is the worst clinical outcome according to the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, which is used to measure the fraction of patients’ livers for a certain amount of time after the treatment. In conclusion, the study identified TRIP-Br2 as a legitimate proto-oncogene, or a mutated and overexpressed version of the normal gene.

For the complete article, click on TRIP-Br2 Promotes Oncogenesis in Nude Mice

Tiny Chemo Beads Boost Liver Cancer Outcomes
20 January 2009

The European Institute of Oncology in Italy has been working with a new technique for the treatment of liver cancer. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a process that attacks liver tumors with microspheres of chemotherapeutic agents that are delivered directly into the tumor, which cuts off its blood supply. Dr. Franco Orsi, the chief of interventional radiology at the European Institute of Oncology stated, “One of the main benefits of Embozene microspheres is the precise, well-calibrated sizing, which match the small blood vessels that feed the tumors … Moreover, chemoembolization without drugs usually causes few or no post-treatment side effects, and patient can usually be discharged the next day.”

In a study done at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Florida, ten out of eleven patients that received TACE, were still alive two years later. In an Italian study, about 46 out of the 53 patients showed a complete response to the therapy after six months.

For the complete article, click on Tiny Chemo Beads Boost Liver Cancer Outcomes

Specialist New System Could Halt Spread of Liver Cancer
20 January 2009

David Lloyd, a consultant liver surgeon, has spent the past ten years working with the experts at the University of Bath in England to develop the Acculis Microwave Tissue Ablation (MTA) system. The MTA system is used to treat liver cancer and is currently being used in hospitals in Leicester, England. “The new high power microwave energy device has been designed to treat liver tumors and offer hope to cancer patients. It delivers fast, precise and controlled volume coagulation zones and supersedes RFA technology in the open surgery setting,” says Lloyd.

For the complete article, click on Specialist New System Could Halt Spread of Liver Cancer

Microspheres Cancer Therapy Improves Survival Rate
20 January 2009

Dr. Stephan Wicky of the Massachusetts General Hospital is using a new treatment developed by Sirtex that can dramatically improve survival rates with minimal side effects. This new treatment uses a catheter to deliver microspheres, or tiny beads that are coated with radiation, directly into the patient’s tumor. Dr. Wicky explains, “The advantage of the catheter-directed therapy is we can deliver very locally an extremely high dose to treat these lesions.”

For the complete article, click on Microspheres Cancer Therapy Improves Survival Rate

Asians Frequently Require Sorafenib Dose Reductions for Treatment of Liver Cancer: Presented at ASCO-GI
19 January 2009

Researchers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 6th Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium reported that Asian patients undergoing treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) require lower doses of sorafenib. Research showed that patients who received 400mg daily, rather than the 700mg average daily dose, were able to tolerate the sorafenib treatment.

For the complete article, click on Asians Frequently Require Sorafenib Dose Reductions

A Novel Regulatory Event-Based Gene Set Analysis Method for Exploring Global Functional Changes in Heterogeneous Genomic Data Sets
16 January 2009

The new approach for microarray data analysis, a technique for performing many DNA experiments in parallel, consists of analyzing gene expression data by assessing the significance of pre-defined gene sets, rather than individual genes. The regulatory event-based Gene Set Analysis (eGSA) considers every gene event and consistently changed genes of each sample to overcome the detection limit. eGSA, when compared to conventional methods, can better detect functional changes in heterogeneous samples. Through eGSA, researchers have also found a new functional characteristic and potential mechanism of very early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

For the complete article, click on A Novel Regulatory Event-Based Gene Set Analysis Method

Jennerex Treats First Patients in Phase 2 JX-594 Trial for Liver Cancer
12 January 2009

Jennerex Inc. and Green Cross Corp. have treated their first five patients with their new treatment, poxvirus JX-594, which is a bio-therapeutic product and a breakthrough in armed oncolytic poxvirus. Oncolytic, meaning the destruction of tumor cells, and the poxvirus is a virus that multiplies in the cytoplasm of the cell and establishes a second nucleus. Jx-594 selectively multiplies within the cancer cells and leads to their destruction. Then, newly created copies of JX-594 are released and are able to infect other tumor cells.

So far, no significant toxicities were reported. In phase 2, the two companies are testing the efficacy, safety and tolerability of JX-594 at two different doses. The treatment aims to stop tumor progression in patients with unresectable primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

For the complete article, click on Jennerex Treats First Patients in Phase 2 JX-594 Trial for Liver Cancer

Bristol-Myers, ZymoGenetics in $1B Hepatitis Deal
12 January 2009

ZymoGenetics Inc., a biotech company, has teamed up with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., a drug-making company, to develop a new hepatitis C drug that is based on interferon. Interferon works by energizing the immune system. It has been used to treat hepatitis C and some forms of cancer. Now, the two companies will research type-3 interferon with pegylation technology, which helps keep the drug active in the body for as long as possible. This technology also helps target different cell receptors, which could result in a more targeted and effective therapy.

For the complete article, click on Bristol-Myers, ZymoGenetics in $1B Hepatitis Deal

Initiation of the Phase 2 Portion of a NCI Sponsored Study Where Belinostat is Given at Higher Than Usual Monotherapy Doses in the Treatment of Patients with Liver Cancer
8 January 2009

According to researchers at Topo Target, an international biotech company from Denmark that is dedicated to finding “Answers for Cancer,” announced that belinostat can be given at higher doses than before. Professor Peter Buhl Jensen, MD and CEO of Topo Target stated, “We are excited about the fact that belinostat can be given in escalated doses in the treatment of patients with liver cancer — as higher doses in our pre-clinical modes increases efficacy in cancer.”

Belinostat is a small molecule HDAC inhibitor that targets the HDAC enzymes. It has been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells, promote differentiation, and help cells overcome drug resistance. Intravenous belinostat is currently in phase 3 and being evaluated in many clinical trials as a potential treatment.

For the complete article, click on Initiation of the Phase 2 Portion of a NCI Sponsored Study

Implementation of Newborn Hepatitis B Vaccination — Worldwide, 2006
7 January 2009

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the authority for health within the United Nations system. They are responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting standards, providing technical to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends. In 1992, WHO set the goal that all countries introduce the hepatitis B vaccine into the national routine infant immunization programs by 1997. The vaccine would be given to infants within the first 24 hours of birth to prevent perinatal (the period of time shortly before and after birth) HBV transmission. As of 2006, 81 of the 193 WHO member states indicated that the hepatitis B vaccine had been included in the national infant immunization schedule.

For the complete article, click on Implementation of Newborn Hepatitis B Vaccination-Worldwide

From a Machine That Reads your Thoughts to Glasses That Cure Dry Eyes: The Breakthroughs That Will Change Lives in 2009
6 January 2009

Patients with inoperable liver cancer and primary cancer tumors can now be treated with an intra-arterial chemotherapy. This is where microscopic beads loaded either with a high concentrate of a chemotherapy or a radiotherapy drug are pumped in via a catheter to the main blood supply to the liver. This treatment is now available at The Christie in Manchester and the Hammersmith Hospital in London.

The drug then disperses into the smaller blood vessels of the liver and is able to reach the most inaccessible of tumors. Professor Gaines, an interventional radiologist at the Sheffield Vascular Institute in the UK, stated, “Trials have shown it can extend life span by an extra year for those with previously untreatable secondary liver cancer.”

For the complete article, click on From a Machine That Reads your Thoughts to Glasses That Cure Dry Eyes

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