Liver Cancer News 2014

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Liver Cancer News 2014

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Top Hepatology Stories of 2014
31 Dec 2014
A roundup of stories pertaining to HCC, cirrhosis and liver disease advances in the medical field.

Neonatal HBV Vaccine May Reduce Liver Cancer Risk
31 Dec 2014
In a randomized, controlled trial of a neonatal HBV vaccine in a rural county of China known for its high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer (PLC), long-term outcomes were good. The vaccinations took place from 1983 – 1990 and based on 30 years of data the HBV vaccination program reduced development of PLC by 84%, death from liver diseases by 70% and the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis by 69%. Researchers added, “Our results also suggest that an adolescent booster should be considered in people who were born to HBsAg positive (an indicator of current hepatitis B infection) mothers and completed neonatal HBV vaccination series.”

New Liver Cancer Target Is A Protein That Accelerates Inflammation
30 Dec 2014
Chronic inflammation is a key to the development and progression of liver cancer and scientists have set out to determine if blocking the TREM-1 protein can block that inflammation. After years of exposure to chronic inflammation, the liver releases another protein that activates TREM-1, which then accelerates the process and prevents new, cancer-prone cells from dying. The scientists are looking for powerful inhibitors to TREM-1, which could one day become a treatment for HCC.

Balloons Used to Prolong the Lives of Liver Cancer Sufferers at Liverpool Hospital
28 Dec 2014
Chemosat is a procedure that uses mini balloons to isolate the liver from surrounding tissue to better dose the tumors with high-strength chemotherapy. While not a cure, the therapy can add months or even years to the life of a patient.

Can-Fite BioPharma Begins Dosing in CF-102 Phase II Liver Cancer Trial
22 Dec 2014
CF102 is a small, orally bioavailable drug that has shown strong anti-tumor effects and has induced death of liver cancer cells. The first of 78 patients was dosed in the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial that is being conducted in Europe, Israel and the U.S. CF-102 is being evaluated for safety and efficacy as a second-line treatment for advanced HCC patients who failed first-line treatment Nexavar.

e-Therapeutics Passes Significant Milestone As It Establishes Safe Maximum Dose for Lead Drug
18 Dec 2014
Data from a Phase 1a clinical trial for possible cancer treatment ETS2101 has found a safe maximum dose for the drug. The Phase 1b clinical trial, “…will concentrate on specific solid tumours, the first two being Hepatocellular Carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer, a terminal form of the disease.”

Global Life Expectancy Increasing; HCV-Related Liver Cancer Deaths Up 125%
17 Dec 2014
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 has found that global life expectancy for men has increased by 5.8 years and for women 6.6 years from 1990 – 2013. HCV-related liver cancer death increased 125% during that span.

Best Hospitals, Best Cancer Hospitals Rapidly Adopt Surefire Infusion System for Minimally Invasive, Direct-To-Tumor Interventional Procedures
16 Dec 2014
Surefire’s infusion systems deliver embolic agents precisely via catheter with an expandable tip that collapses in forward flow and expands to the vessel wall in reverse flow to maximize delivery, minimize reflux and reduce damage to healthy tissue. Published data on the treatment shows good penetration of dose to tumors, a 70% reduction in fluoroscopy exposure and a 50% reduction in procedure time.

If Cells Can’t Move, Cancer Can’t Grow
15 Dec 2014
By blocking a common enzyme, DPP9 (dipeptidyl peptidase 9), Sydney Medical School researchers have shown that they can slow down cell movement and potentially stop tumors from spreading and growing. With the aid of a super-resolution microscope, scientists have seen single molecules of the enzyme at work on a liver cancer cell line and that disrupting the enzyme slows down cancer cell movement. “This gives us our clearest evidence yet that this enzyme will be a good cancer drug target,” stated Professor Mark Gorrell from Centenary Molecular Hepatology, Sydney.

Nearly 4 Million Americans Infected With Hepatitis C
11 Dec 2014
Of this group, it is estimated the 85% of them are unaware that they are infected and the Centers for Disease Control reported that only 2 – 10% of patients who should be screened for HCV actually are screened. HCV-related liver disease is the leading cause of liver transplantation, the most common killer among those co-infected with HIV and the most common cause of HCC. Hepatocellular Carcinoma related to HCV infection is the fastest-rising cause of cancer death in the US causing the incidence of HCC to triple in the last 20 years.

Mold on Corn Can Cause Liver Cancer
11 Dec 2014
Aflatoxins, molds that can grow on corn, pistachios and peanuts, are responsible for up to 28% of worldwide liver cancer cases, according to Michigan State researchers. Studies point to aflatoxin exposure in the diet in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, China and parts of Central America as being responsible for up to 155,00 cases of liver cancer annually. Immunization, the growing of healthy crops to prevent contamination and dry storage to prevent insect and rodent infestation are solutions suggested by the researchers.

Delcath Adds New Centers To Global Phase 2 HCC Program
11 Dec 2014
The company’s first-line treatment for patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma using the Melphalan Hepatic Deliver System (Melphalan/HDS) has added two centers in Germany: Hannover Medical Staff Hospital and Jena University Hospital. Trials are ongoing at Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Gagne Leaves Bruins After Father’s Cancer Diagnosis
10 Dec 2014
Hockey player Simon Gagne of the Boston Bruins has taken a leave of absence from the team to tend to his father in Quebec who has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. Doctors inform Gagne that his father’s cancer is incurable.

MultiCell Technologies Files Novel Antibody-Drug Conjugate Patent Application
10 Dec 2014
Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) deliver cytotoxic drugs, such as the company’s HCC therapeutic MCT-485, directly to the tumor cells saving the patient from becoming sick due to toxicity and off-target effects of other drug treatments. This platform can also provide targeted delivery of synergistic drugs that can enhance the effect of other drug-drug combinations. “We are very excited about this novel, enabling antibody-drug conjugate technology that we intend to use for the targeted delivery of MCT-485, as well as other drugs,” said W. Gerald Newmin, Chairman and CEO of MulitCell Technologies.

IntegraGen Nets Exclusive Rights to Liver Cancer Gene Signatures
8 Dec 2014
The signatures pertain to a panel of genes that help scientists distinguish between malignant and benign tumors. One signature includes 16 genes that can classify HCC into molecular subgroups in order to target therapy specific to that subgroup. The other signature involves five genes, which can help determine prognosis for patients diagnosed with HCC after resection. “IntegraGen is working with pharmaceutical companies to explore the use of the classification signature in early phase clinical trials for new drugs targeting Hepatocellular Carcinoma in order to identify patients who may respond to these treatments,” stated IntegraGen CEO Bernard Courtieu.

Nucleoside Analogues Reduced HCC Incidence Among Patients with HBV
5 Dec 2014
Canadian researchers analyzed data from 322 chronic HBV (CHB) patients who were treated with nucleoside analogue (NA) therapy (lamivudine, telbivudine, adefovir, entecavir or tenofovir) from 1999 – 2012. During a median follow-up of 3.2 years, 11 patients who had underlying cirrhosis developed HCC. “By using a validated HCC risk prediction model for non-cirrhotic CHB patients, we found that patients on NA had a lower incidence of HCC development according to that predicted without treatment,” said Carla S. Coffin, MD, MSc, FRCPC, assistant professor of medicine, Liver Unit, University of Calgary.

Sex Differences: Luck of the Chromosomes
4 Dec 2014
Some cancers, such as ovarian and prostate, are gender specific, but others have no clear association to sex and yet affect a disproportionate amount of men for no apparent reason. Hepatocellular Carcinoma affects twice as many men as women and is more aggressive in men with one analysis showing that female HCC patients under 55 years of age have a 17% better chance of survival. Researchers surmise that behavior could be to blame, such as the fact that men are more likely to drink which can be a risk factor for HCC. Hormonal differences between the sexes could be another reason since they affect how the liver develops and metabolizes certain drugs or toxins.

Iconic Japanese Actor Sugawara Bunta Dead of Liver Cancer
2 Dec 2014
Legendary action star and popular leading man Sugawara Bunta, 81, has succumbed to liver cancer. Bunta was an actor with a wide range of roles, but was best known for his bare-knuckle portrayals of yakuza gangsters, particularly Battles Without Honour And Humanity (1973).

At Froedtert, 3-D Technology Brings New Focus to Delicate Liver Surgery
1 Dec 2014
At the University of Wisconsin Medical College, the new Pathfinder software gives surgeons a precise, three-dimensional image of the human liver. The surgeons are able to see the tumor and map out exactly where they will operate using the approach that is best for the patient.

Interventional X-Ray Guidance Device May Reduce Radiation Exposure of Liver Cancer Patients
27 Nov 2014
The AlluraClarity system uses real-time image processing that achieves high quality images using a lower amount of radiation that reduces exposure to patients undergoing intra-arterial therapy for liver cancer. During IAT a thin, flexible tube is inserted into the vessel feeding the tumor to deliver chemotherapy or other drugs while X-ray imagery is used to guide catheter placement and drug transport. AlluraClarity lowers radiation exposure by up to 80% compared to standard X-ray equipment and delivers images as clear as the standard system.

Sustained Virological Response Increases Hepatitis C, Fibrosis and Cirrhosis Survival Rates
26 Nov 2014
Dutch investigators analyzed survival rates of patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection and advanced cirrhosis or fibrosis, both with and without sustained virological response (SVR). The results showed that SVR translated into survival for these patients comparable to the general population. “The excellent survival among patients with advanced liver disease and SVR might be explained by the associations between SVR and regression of hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, reduced hepatic venous pressure gradient, reduced occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure, as well as reduced occurrence of diabetes mellitus, end-stage renal disease, and cardiovascular events,”concluded Adriaan J. van der Meer, MD., PhD., and leader of the study.

CARsgen Completes Series A Financing
26 Nov 2014
The funding will allow the company to start clinical studies for its lead therapeutic KJgpc3-001 immunotherapy drug. KJgpc3-001 takes T-cells from the patient and modifies them to be returned to the body to attack the liver cancer. In clinical studies the therapeutic eradicated HCC cells.

Onxeo Announces Positive DSMB Recommendations for its Phase III Trial with Livatag ™ in Primary Liver Cancer
24 Nov 2014
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) that oversees and monitors the safety of the ReLive trial has recommended unanimously that the study continue without modification. “ReLive is an international, randomized Phase III trial aiming at demonstrating the efficacy of Livatag ™ on survival in 400 patients with advanced HepatoCellular Carcinoma (primary liver cancer) after failure of intolerance to Sorafenib.”

CPRIT Awards 32 Grants
21 Nov 2014
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,357,880 for research targeting SWI/SNF Chromatin-remodeling Complex in Liver Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Team Discovers That A Derivative Of Vitamin B3 Prevents Liver Cancer In Mice
20 Nov 2014
Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) investigators have created a mouse model that mirrors the steps of human HCC development. The results show that a diet rich in nicotinamide riboside, a vitamin B3 derivative, protects mice from developing HCC in its earliest stage. The team also showed the diet had a curative effect on mice that had previously developed the disease.

Antibacterial Soap Ingredient May Cause Cancer In Mice
19 Nov 2014
Triclosan, an antibacterial component of soap, toothpaste and other household products, could develop into liver cancer in mice. Triclosan may interfere with a protein that aids in flushing chemicals out of the body causing the liver to create more liver cells and this excessive accumulation may develop into tumors. While animal studies have hinted at potential harm, triclosan’s effects on the human body are not well understood and warrant further study.

Hep C Patients To Get £560 Liver Cancer Drug
14 Nov 2014
Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar announced that 120 seriously ill hepatitis C patients would be receiving Sovaldi after doctors treating the patients requested it. Sovaldi, when used as a combination therapy with other drugs, has a cure rate of 95%.

Transplant Best for HIV Patients With Liver Cancer
13 Nov 2014
In a retrospective analysis of HIV patients with HCC, researchers looked at data from 138 patients in eight countries over a 10-year period and found that compared to surgical resection, radiofrequency ablation and percutaneous ethanol ablation, patients that underwent liver transplant had a higher survival rate. At two years, 92% of transplant patients were alive, compared with 77% of those who underwent surgery, 71% of those who had radiofrequency ablation and 41% of those who received percutaneous ethanol. At five years, 85% of transplant patients were alive compared with 68% of those who received radiofrequency ablation. In addition, five-year survival for HIV-positive patients compared well with rates among HIV-negative participants.

Tonsils Could Help Treat Liver Disease
12 Nov 2014
As an alternative to growing stem cells from bone marrow, South Korean researchers have grown tonsils for liver tissue and created a 3-D biodegradable gel that contains functioning liver cells. Tonsils help track bacteria and other germs as a part of the immune system, but doctors remove thousands every year and discard them. The researchers hope that the procedure can become an injectable tissue engineering technique that can one day treat liver disease without surgery.

AB Science: The Data and Safety Monitoring Board Recommends the Continuation of the Phase 2 Study With Mastinib in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
12 Nov 2014
Mastinib is an orally administered drug that inhibits the inflammatory process and it can help survival when used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The purpose of the Phase 2 study is to evaluate safety and efficacy of mastinib in combination with etoposide or mastinib in combination with irinotecan in advanced HCC patients. Overall survival is the primary endpoint.

Blueprint Medicines Banks $50M For Its Personalized Take On Cancer
12 Nov 2014
The influx of capital will allow the company to start treating HCC patients with BLU-554 to establish proof of concept and then move into Phase 2 of the study.

Innovative Approach To Treating Pancreatic Cancer Combines Chemo- And Immuno-Therapy
12 Nov 2014
Immunochemotherapy uses already-established immune-modulating molecules to enlist the patient’s own immune system to fight pancreatic cancer. Delivered directly to pancreatic cancer cells, the treatment kills the cells without harming surrounding healthy tissue. Researchers believe the treatment could have applications for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).

Composite Calculator May Improve Screening Accuracy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
11 Nov 2014
Baylor investigators conducted a “megadata” analysis of 10,000 patients with HCV and cirrhosis and discovered a combined diagnostic that could help doctors detect HCC sooner. Serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), present during hepatic inflammation or malignancy, was measured along with alanine aminotransferase (ALT), platelet count and age to give the team the best predictive value of a patient developing HCC. The investigators hope to create a simple calculator that could one day be used online or as a mobile app.

Hep C Cure Lowers Risk of Death, Liver Cancer and Transplants
10 Nov 2014
In a meta-analysis of 34,563 hepatitis C patients who received interferon-based treatment, investigators saw a 62 – 84% decline in the risk of death from any cause, a 68 – 79% drop in development of HCC and a 90% reduction in liver transplantation. Patients considered low-risk who were cured were reinfected with HCV at only 0.9%, but that figure rose to 8.9% among higher-risk prisoners and intravenous drug users. The reinfection rate was 23.6% for those coinfected with HIV and HCV.

No Need for Cancer Watch in Cirrhotic Wilson’s Disease
10 Nov 2014
Hepatocellular Carcinoma did not seem to be a risk in patients who developed cirrhosis related to Wilson’s disease. The retrospective study found that from 130 patients with Wilson’s disease, 60% of them acquired cirrhosis with only two cases of HCC in 17 years of follow-up.

Largest Ever Genomic Study of Liver Cancer Identifies Mutations That Distinguish Asian and Western Disease
7 Nov 2014
A collaboration between two large-scale genome projects that analyzed data from 503 liver cancer genomes identified a mutation signature that leads to more cases of the disease in Japanese men versus European men. The study was unique by the fact that it looked at ethnicity as the cause of mutation patterns, excluding causes such as hepatitis B or C or cirrhosis. “Patients are subject to different environmental factors or they are genetically different,” said Dr. David Wheeler, professor in the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center.

Liver Disease Update
31 Oct 2014
The incidence of liver cancer is low in Australia when compared to other parts of the world, but it is increasing at the fastest rate of all cancers in the country. Australian Aboriginals have a 5 to 10 higher incidence of the disease compared to non-indigenous people, a 12-times higher rate of mortality and a higher incidence of HBV infection.

CeloNova’s Super-Selective Embolic Microsphere with Drug Loading Capabilities Could Mean Improved Quality of Life and Overall Survival For Liver Cancer Patients
30 Oct 2014
The U.S. FDA has granted approval to start an investigational device exemption (IDE) clinical trial for its ONCOZENE ™ chemotherapy treatment for HCC. The purpose of the Phase 3 trial is to design an evidence-based treatment plan for late stage HCC patients enrolled in multiple treatment centers in the United States, Asia and Europe. ONCOZENE ™ delivers doxorubicin-loaded microspheres via precise and selective embolization directly to the tumor site to maximize effectiveness and minimize toxicity to the body. Dr. Ghassan Abou-Alfa at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center stated, “Early studies have shown that Liver-Directed Therapies utilizing drug eluting microspheres such as ONCOZENE ™ microspheres provide an excellent treatment option for locally advanced HCC patients.”

Male Liver Cancer Deaths Rise 40%
28 Oct 2014
More Scottish men are dying from liver cancer. From 2003 – 2013, a “statistically significant” 40.7% jump in liver cancer deaths occurred, attributed largely to alcohol and hepatitis B and C infection.

Useful Markers to Predict Response to Chemotherapy in Patients With Liver Cancer
23 Oct 2014
A researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research has discovered why some advanced HCC patients are unresponsive to sorafenib. The drug,”…could act not only on tumor cells by inhibiting the growth and inducing cell death, but also on cells accompanying the tumor, the stroma, by their ability to inhibit the formation of blood vessels to provide nutrients to the tumor cells. Sorafenib treatment induces a delay in tumor processes, but generally fails to produce the patient’s recovery,” stated Isabel Fabregat, author of the study. HCC patients with this marker would not respond well to sorafenib and could be spared the side effects of the treatment.

Diabetes, Liver Disease, and Oral Cancer: What Your Mouth Says About Your Overall Health
20 Oct 2014
Even with brushing, flossing and regular use of breath fresheners, persistent bad breath may be an indicator of stomach disorder or indigestion. In some rare instances it may be a symptom of liver cancer, which usually shows no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

The Map That Shows the North South Divide is Deadly
20 Oct 2014
More people die from liver disease in the North of England than in the South. The town of Blackpool has a mortality rate twice the rate of England as a whole and has the highest rate for men at 58.4 deaths per 100,000 residents. For women, Liverpool had the highest mortality rate at 25 deaths per 100,000 residents. The north/south divide is also true for liver cancer cases. Public Health England released data that showed areas with the highest levels of obesity, drug use and deprivation (Lancashire, Nottingham and County Durham) also have high mortality rates.

Stem Cell Treatments: New Breakthroughs in Leukemia, Liver Cancer, and Diabetes
16 Oct 2014
Investigators at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a new stem cell type that can turn into either liver or blood vessel cells. These types of blood vessels are known to provide nutrients to liver cells and could one day be used to deliver liver cancer drugs and treatments.

Immune Cells in the Liver Drive Fatty Liver Disease and Liver Cancer
14 Oct 2014
A diet high in fat and sugar combined with lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of liver diseases that can ultimately cause HCC. The mechanisms that cause these diseases are not understood, but German scientists have found that immune cells interact with liver cells, which triggers an inflammatory response that damages the liver and interrupts its metabolic functions. “Initially immune cells promote fatty liver degeneration. The inflammation, which is triggered by specific immune cells, encourages the progression of fatty liver pathology and causes NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) to develop. These processes are the basis for liver cell degeneration, which can cause HCC,” stated Professor Mathias Heikenwalder, leader of the study.

Obesity Linked to Accelerated Liver Aging
14 Oct 2014
UCLA researchers developed what they called and “aging clock” that can accurately gauge the biological age of several different organs, tissues and cells. The team assessed 140 liver samples taking into account weight, height and BMI (body mass index) and found that for every 10 additional body mass index units the age of the liver increased 3.3 years. Steve Horvath, first author and professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine, said, “This does not sound like a lot, but it is actually a very strong effect. For some people, the age acceleration due to obesity will be much more severe, even up to 10 years older.” In addition, rapid weight loss through bariatric surgery did not reverse accelerated aging of the liver.

Chicken, Fish Lower Liver Cancer Risk
7 Oct 2014
Analysis of 17 studies conducted between 1956 and 2013 involving 500,000 people found that eating white meat on a regular basis reduced risk of HCC by 31%. Researchers also found that eating fish cut the risk by 22 percent. “Our findings suggest that dietary intervention may be a promising approach for prevention of HCC, which still needs to be confirmed by further well-designed prospective studies and experimental research,”wrote the study authors.

NetScientific Inks Deal With Oncimmune For Liver Cancer Detection
3 Oct 2014
Oncimmune’s antibody assay technology has previously been used for the early detection of lung cancer and is now being used to test for liver cancer and other solid tumors. NetScientific’s Glycotest, Inc. is formulating glycoprotein biomarkers and assay technology to test for liver cancer and other serious liver diseases. Both companies will jointly evaluate the combined tests, which then may be used together.

Gene Linked To Both Ageing and Cancer Found
2 Oct 2014
Three boys from Morocco and Australia who developed early liver cancer also showed signs of early aging such as chromosomal instability, low body weight, lipodystrophy and muscular degeneration. In all three cases, the SPRTN gene, which helps prevent mutations and repair DNA, had been damaged. The Oxford team concluded, “The group discovered the first monogenic cause of Hepatocellular Carcinoma, which suggests that SPRTN as a subject for further study of hepatocarcinogenesis.”

Delcath Commences U.S. Phase 2 Study of Melphalan Hepatic Delivery System in Primary Liver Cancer
2 Oct 2014
The Delcath Hepatic Delivery System (Melphalan/HDS) administers a high dose of Melphalan Hydrochloride chemotherapy to the liver, while limiting exposure of the drug to the rest of the body. Melphalan/HDS will be a first-line treatment for patients with unresectable HCC, followed by sorafenib. Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida is the first U.S. center open for enrollment, with 3 to 6 more centers to open in the U.S. and Europe. In all, the trial expects to enroll 30 patients.

Stopping Liver Cancer In Its Tracks
2 Oct 2014
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found that a protein that helps prevent obesity can also prevent tumor development in the liver cells of mice. Apoptosis Inhibitor of Macrophage (AIM) collects on the membranes of HCC cells, which triggers a process that kills cancerized cells. The researchers also found that AIM accumulates on the surface of human HCC, which may lead to a new treatment for the disease. “It is surprising that we do have an excellent system to eliminate undesired cancer cells, and that this system may certainly be therapeutically applicable not only to HCC, but also more broadly to other types of cancer,” said Professor Toru Miyazaki at the Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine from Pathogenesis.

Researchers Uncover Potential Target for “Undruggable” Form of Liver Cancer
30 Sep 2014
A team of researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering targeted genes that drive cancer HCC tumor cells for which drugs already exist as a way to possibly shortcut a new therapy for the disease. The team found that the CDK9 gene and the Myc gene “talked” to each other to drive tumor growth. Dr. Scott Lowe said,”… that inhibiting CDK9 with a type of drug called a kinase inhibitor could be an effective way to control that progression.” The CDK9-inhibitors that exist are not good enough for use in humans, but Lowe says these drug molecules provide a good starting point for chemists to develop new, more precise compounds.

Boxing Promoter Dan Goossen Passes Away At 64 After Battle With Liver Cancer
29 Sep 2014
The man who promoted numerous boxers over the last 25 years, including Floyd Mayweather, died from complications related to liver cancer. Goossen started the family business in a makeshift ring in the backyard of a property in the San Fernando Valley and reached the peak of, “Sadness is difficult to escape as we grieve his passing. However, we are filled with pride by the fact that Dan Goossen battled this aggressive illness with boundless strength and the last days of his life were fought and lived with unflinching bravery, pure love and grace beyond measure.”

HCC Patients in Longer Waiting Time Regions for LT Showed Better Overall Survival
26 Sep 2014
HCC patients on the longer wait time list for liver transplant outlived patients on the shorter wait time list. Survival was measured in three cohorts: intent-to-treat, post-transplant and overall survival in patients who underwent transplants. Average wait time on the long wait list was 7.6 months versus 1.6 months for the short wait list. “Expediting patients with HCC to transplant at too fast a rate adversely affects outcomes, with a more than 8% difference in post-transplant survival between short and long access time regions. Because overall waiting time is an independent predictor of poor outcome, we would suggest that further iterations in allocation policy toward HCC be considered,” said the researchers.

Liver Cancer Thwarted By Specialized Radiation
25 Sep 2014
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a highly precise treatment that delivers a few small, very high doses of radiation to a well-defined tumor. This makes it a good option for liver cancers and a Michigan study published in 2013 commented that SBRT provides minimal toxicity and excellent local control for primary and metastatic liver lesions. “At the high dose, radiation is much more effective at killing cancer than when your break it up into smaller doses,” said Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig, chair of the department of radiation oncology at Mt. Sinai.

CUHK Reveals Effectiveness of TEA for Treating Liver Cancer with a 70% Chance of Completely Destroying Tumor
23 Sep 2014
Transarterial Ethanol Ablation (TEA) was compared to Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in the treatment of HCC by Chinese researchers. TEA was found to be more effective at eradicating tumor cells within the tumor than TACE and was just as safe. The research team is looking for HCC patients for the second round of testing.

Increased Vegetable Intake Reduced Risk For HCC
22 Sep 2014
Researchers carried out a meta-analysis of 19 studies that compared vegetable and fruit intake and HCC risk. “Results of this study concluded that a daily increase of 100 grams of vegetables was associated with an 8% lower risk of HCC. The findings should be confirmed by future studies with validated questionnaires and strict control of confounders,” stated the authors.

Patent Filed For Injectable HBV, Liver Cancer Drug In China
18 Sep 2014
Currently under pharmacological research, oleanolic acid injection has been developed to treat hepatitis B virus infection and liver cancer. The company currently offers an oleanolic acid capsule to relieve damage caused by HBV and to promote hepatic cell regeneration.

VT-122, Sorafenib Improved OS In Patients With HCC
12 Sep 2014
An open-label, phase II clinical trial of 12 patients with advanced HCC combined VT-122 with sorafenib. Median overall survival for the patients treated with both drugs was 21 months versus 10 for patients treated with sorafenib only. VT-122 was well tolerated with no significant side effects. “VT-122… appears to be a safe, potent and synergistic inhibitor of signaling pathways in the tumor microenvironment and the neuroimmune system,” said Newell F. Bascomb, PhD., CEO of Vicus Therapeutics.

Obesity Takes Patients One Step Closer to Liver Cancer
10 Sep 2014
Liver cancer is spreading in rich, industrialized countries and 40% of the patients get the disease without viral infection or symptoms of alcohol abuse. These patients were obese and had non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, but that alone is not the cause of liver cancer. Scientists wanted to find out why and postulated that a phenomenon called endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, where the liver has to work extra hard to produce more proteins, could produce more fat in the liver and ultimately cause liver cancer. The liver cells of mice that showed persistent signs of ER stress throughout their life declined in health gradually and eventually led to the development of liver tumors. The upside is that when ER-stress ceased, the tumors stopped growing.

Blueprint Medicines Presents Positive Data on BLU-554 for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
8 Sep 2014
BLU-554 is a fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR) inhibitor that targets a defined subset of HCC patients based on the genetic profile of their cancers. Preclinical data demonstrated, “…in vivo efficacy, including sustained tumor regression, and complete remissions in mice with tumors that represent a genomically defined subset of human HCC.” Blueprint estimates the targeted population for BLU-554 to be one-third of all HCC patients and expects to start clinical trials in 2015.

Trial Shows Improved Overall Survival For Patients With Liver Cancer Not Amenable To Surgery
8 Sep 2014
The Phase II clinical trial was conducted at four Asia Pacific medical centers and combined Sorafenib and Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) for the treatment of liver cancer. Median overall survival was 20.3 months for intermediate stage HCC patients and 8.6 months for advanced stage HCC patients. Patients were able to enjoy better quality of life over a longer span with median time to progression of 15.2 months for those with locally advanced HCC and 9 months for those with metastatic liver cancer.

Deficiency of a Gene May Increase Risk of Diabetes and Liver Cancer in Males
5 Sep 2014
Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered that a deficiency in the NCOA5 gene in mice led to the development of cells, which might become HCC. The study found that 100% of male mice with this deficiency had some level of glucose intolerance, which could lead to type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for HCC. Female mice did not have the same risk level due to the interaction of elevated levels of estrogen with the gene.

Can-Fite Issued Japanese Patent for CF102 in the Treatment of Liver Regeneration and Function Following Surgery
5 Sep 2014
CF102 is a small, orally bioavailable drug that has shown strong anti-tumor effects and has induced death of liver cancer cells. It is currently in Phase II clinical trials in the U.S. Israel, and Europe. The patent covers the drug’s use for the treatment of liver regeneration and function following surgery. “We believe that the use of CF102 to induce proliferation of hepatocytes in liver cancer patients following surgery may provide important health benefits and prolong survival,” commented Dr. Pnina Fishman, CEO of Can-Fite.

CeloNova BioSciences Receives Expanded Indication in Liver Cancer
3 Sep 2014
Oncozene ® and Embozene ® are microspheres used in embolization that precisely target hepatomas (HCC) by cutting off the blood flow. “The FDA’s clearance of Oncozene and Embozene for the embolization of hepatoma provides support for another treatment option for physicians and patients in their battle against primary liver cancer,” stated Martin J. Landon, President and CEO of CeloNova.

EGFR Carcinogenic Role in Liver Decoded
2 Sep 2014
The EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) is a protein that controls cell growth and, when mutated, has been linked only with tumor promotion in tumor cells. Austrian researchers have shown that EGFR can play an important role in the macrophages (immune cells) in the liver with respect to the growth of HCC. “In this study we were able to prove that the suppression of EGFR has a tumor inhibiting effect on the macrophages and not on its inhibition on the tumor cell itself,” stated Maria Sibilia, manager of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna.

Hispanic Veterans With HCV At Higher Risk For Cirrhosis, HCC
1 Sep 2014
Baylor College of Medicine researchers analyzed Veterans Administration data from 149,407 HCV patients from 2000 – 2009. Hispanics had the highest incidence rates of HCC and cirrhosis compared to African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites. “Patient’s race was significantly associated with the risk for cirrhosis and HCC. These data are relevant to further the understanding of genetic as well as nongenetic differences that may explain the racial variations in the progression of liver disease,” stated Baylor researchers.

No Glimmer of Sun After the STORM Trial
Sep 2014
Results from the Phase III STORM (Sorafenib as Adjuvant Treatment in the Prevention of Recurrence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma) trial are in: HCC patients who receive sorafenib after tumor resection or ablation are not protected from reemergence of the cancer. The drug did not achieve recurrence-free survival nor was there a difference in overall survival among patients who received sorafenib versus a placebo.” This is a major disappointment in the field, and questions are being asked about why this happened,” commented Milind Javle, MD, associate professor of in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

SciClone’s Liver Cancer Treatment Wins Approval in China
29 Aug 2014
DC Bead, a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, is an embolic bead injected into the bloodstream to try to block or reduce the blood flow to cancer cells in hypervascularized tumors like HCC.

Veterans With NAFLD-Related HCC Lacked Surveillance Before Diagnosis
28 Aug 2014
Baylor College of Medicine researchers analyzed medical records from 1500 VA patients with HCC from 2005 – 2010. Patients with NAFLD-related HCC did not receive the same surveillance prior to diagnosis as alcoholic patients or those infected with HCV. “NAFLD is the third most common cause of HCC after alcohol abuse and HCV in the VA population. This should prompt clinicians to maintain high index of suspicion given the common perception that NAFLD is a benign and indolent disease combined with absence of reliable serologic markers to diagnose NAFLD,” stated Sahil Mittal, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

MultiCell Technologies Granted U.S. Patent Covering Therapeutics Which Fight Virus Infection and Cancer
25 Aug 2014
The company is developing MCT-465 and MCT-475 for the treatment of hepatitis B and C virus infection and for the treatment of certain cancers.

Magnetic Nanoparticles Target Tumors and Get Cells to Commit Suicide
22 Aug 2014
Chinese researchers attached a tumor-specific “suicide” gene to magnetic nanoparticles that targeted liver cancer cells. The nanoparticles are so small that they do not provoke the immune system into a response, and when the “suicide” gene is delivered to liver cancer cells, it causes them to commit suicide. This targeted approach is preferred because it is much less likely to produce the unwanted side effects of other systemic treatments.

Longer Wait To Liver Transplantation Associated With Reduced HCC Recurrence
20 Aug 2014
UC San Francisco researchers analyzed adult liver transplantation data from the United Network for Organ Sharing to compare patients waiting 6 months or less for an organ with those that waited longer. When tumor quantity and size, ablative therapy and other factors were considered, HCC recurrence risk was decreased by 40% in patients who waited longer than 6 months for transplantation. “This waiting period is to make sure that the tumor has not spread outside of the liver so that it would not be cured by liver transplantation. We found that a waiting period of 120 days appears to decrease the risk of post-transplant recurrence,” said study author John D. Roberts, MD, at UC San Francisco.

New Mouse Model Points to Therapy for Liver Disease
18 Aug 2014
University of California San Diego scientists have developed a new therapy for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which can progress to HCC. Using a mouse model that resembles human NASH, the scientists demonstrated that it interfered with an inflammatory protein important to the genesis of NASH and HCC down the line. “These findings strongly call for clinical testing of relevant drugs in human NASH and its complications. Our research has shown that, at least in this mouse model, chemical compounds that include already clinically approved drugs that inhibit protein aggregation can also be used to prevent NASH caused by a high fat diet,” concluded Michael Karin, PhD., lead author of the study.

Daily Checkup: SBRT Is An Excellent Option For Treating Lung And Liver Cancers
17 Aug 2014
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to a very small area of the body. SBRT patients receive a custom mold to assist keeping them perfectly still during treatment, which can be done over the patient’s lunch hour in some cases. Quick recovery time is one of the big advantages of SBRT over other treatments for HCC because the precise delivery spares surrounding healthy tissue.

AEG-1 Protein Blocks Effects of Retinoic Acid in Leukemia and Liver Cancer
14 Aug 2014
Retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, is used to treat and prevent cancer. Sometimes, a protein known as AEG-1 blocks the benefits of retinoic acid in leukemia and liver cancer. Scientists have discovered that blocking production of the protein can restore the cancer killing properties of retinoic acid. “This research has immediate clinical relevance such that physicians could begin screening cancer patients for AEG-1 expression levels in order to determine whether retinoic acid should be prescribed,” said Devanand Sarkar, PhD., author of the study.

Female Sex Associated With Improved Survival in HCC
14 Aug 2014
University of Southern California researchers evaluated data from the SEER cancer database and found that women outlived men with HCC, particularly those aged 18 to 44 and those who underwent surgical resection. The median age of diagnosis of HCC for women compared to men was older (67 years versus 61 years, respectively) and women lived longer than men once diagnosed (11 months versus 10 months, respectively). These results are, “… in agreement with preclinical data confirming androgens and estrogens as modulators of hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis and progression to HCC,” said Dongyun Yang, PhD., of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

HCV Costs, Mortality Could Increase In Australia By 2030
13 Aug 2014
Researchers projected three treatment scenarios to predict HCV-related morbidity and mortality in Australia if current costs and treatment options remain unchanged. “Large increases in the annual treated population, in addition to increased treatment efficacy, had a much larger impact on HCV prevalence, rates of HCC and liver-related mortality and costs compared with a scenario that considered increased treatment efficacy alone,” wrote the researchers.

Liposome Liver Cancer Drug In Phase Two Trials
12 Aug 2014
Lipotecan, designed to be used as a second-line treatment after patients have developed resistance to Nexavar, is set to start phase II trials in Taiwan and China. The company will recruit 62 patients for the trials and expects the drug to have completed the first stage of the trial by early 2015.

Dietary Guideline Adherence Decreased Risk For Liver Disease Mortality, HCC
8 Aug 2014
Researchers analyzed data from the Healthy Eating Index-2010 and alternate Mediterranean Diet Score among 494,942 subjects aged 50 to 71. They found that greens, beans and seafood, as well as a healthy ratio of alcohol and monounsaturated/saturated led to a lower incidence of HCC and mortality by chronic liver disease (CLD). “We observed an inverse association between adherence to the 2010 US dietary guidelines and principle of Mediterranean diet for Americans and HCC incidence and CLD mortality. Our findings suggest that adhering to dietary recommendations may contribute to lower risk of these diseases,” concluded the researchers.

Hepatitis C Will Become A Rare Disease By 2036
5 Aug 2014
Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have used a computer simulation using data from more than 30 clinical trials to predict that new therapies for HCV will eradicate the disease in the near future. If baby boomers received a one-time HCV screening, the model predicted that 487,000 cases would be identified over the next 10 years. “Making hepatitis C a rare disease would be a tremendous, life-saving accomplishment. However, to do this, we will need improved access to care and increased treatment capacity, primarily in the form of primary care physicians who can manage the care of infected people identified through increased screening,” stated lead author Mina Kabiri, a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Statins May Cut Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
3 Aug 2014
In a meta-analysis of 10 studies of 4,298 HCC patients, researchers found that statins lowered the overall risk of the cancer by 37%. Asian populations experienced a 48% reduction and Western populations a 33% reduction in HCC with statins. “In patients with multiple risk factors, such as East Asian men who have chronic HBV [hepatitis B infection], statins may have a clinically relevant chemo-protective effect against HCC,” concluded the researchers.

Taiho Pharmaceutical Announces Termination of Phase III Clinical Trial of the Angiogenesis Inhibitor TSU-68 (orantinib) in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma
2 Aug 2014
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 889 HCC patients treated with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) was combined with TSU-68 in one arm and TACE in another. During interim analysis, the pre-determined standard to achieve the endpoint was not met and the company decided to terminate the trial.

Metropolis Study Shows Worrying Trend of Hepatitis B and C Among Youngsters
29 Jul 2014
In an inclusive survey of 78,102 samples of blood, vaginal fluid and semen from it was found that 33% of sexually active children in major Indian cities showed symptoms of Hepatitis B. Samples from adults aged 20-40 had the second highest prevalence for the disease. Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through unintentional exposure to infected blood and of 10,534 child samples tested in the age group 0 to 10, 3,254 samples tested positive for hepatitis C.

Liver Cancer Numbers to Double
28 Jul 2014
Unless New Zealand takes advantage of exciting new therapies soon, the rate of liver cancer in the country is expected to double by 2020. Adding new oral treatments boceprevir and ribavirin to the mainstay interferon regimen for a year has increased the cure rate for HCC by 20%. “Because these treatments are so short duration and so well tolerated, I think that, provided they’re affordable, they will be able to be given in general practice,” said Professor Ed Gane, Auckland City Hospital.

Many Unaware of Hepatitis-Cancer Link: Poll
28 Jul 2014
A Taiwanese telephone survey conducted with 1,729 people between the ages of 25 to 64 revealed that only 68% and 56% of participants understood that hepatitis B and C were the major causes of liver cancer, respectively. While 90% of respondents understand that the diseases can be controlled by doctors through regular treatments, nearly 30% of respondents who have hepatitis B or C have never sought any such treatment. Alarmingly, nearly 90% of Taiwanese respondents mistakenly believe that staying up late is a major cause of liver cancer.

Celsion Reports Updated Survival Data in ThermoDox Study of Liver Cancer
28 July 2014
The HEAT study treats 701 HCC patients with ThermoDox in combination with radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The most recent quarterly analysis showed that 41% of the study patients experienced a 57% improvement in overall survival with the combined therapy as opposed to RFA alone. The company cautioned that this is a retrospective analysis of an ongoing study and that the median point for overall survival analysis has not been met.

Tocotrienols May Hinder Tumor Activity
23 Jul 2014
Egyptian researchers found that when HCC-infected mice were injected with Epirubicin nanoparticles mixed with tocotrienols there was a noticeable improvement in tumor response and less cardiotoxicity.

Primary Liver Cancer Subtype Incidence Grew in Deprived Areas of England
22 Jul 2014
Public health officials found that from 1990 – 2009 hepatocellular carcinoma rose from one per 100,000 to 2.3 in men and from 0.27 to 0.51 in women. “The increase in liver cell carcinoma was largely among patients living in the more socio-economically deprived areas, particularly men. This may be due to variation in the prevalence of risk factors such as hepatitis B and C viral infections and excess alcohol consumption,” said Julie Konfortion, of the Knowledge and Intelligence Team, Public Health England.

Malaria Drug Could Prevent Liver Cancer
21 Jul 2014
Chloroquine, an over-the-counter malaria pill, could also prevent liver cancer. “Chloroquine works by switching off two proteins (Toll-like proteins 7 and 9) which are thought to be turned on when liver cells die, triggering chronic inflammation, which stops cells regenerating properly, and causes cancer.” The research so far has been conducted on mice, but the drug prevents cancer from occurring 80% of the time and shrinks tumors, as well.

Hepatitis QLD Makes Urgent Plea In Fight Against Virus
21 Jul 2014
The CEO of Hepatitis Queensland, Australia is calling on the regional government to increase funding to prevent viral hepatitis and insure that those infected with the virus are given treatment. “Despite more than 233,000 Australians living with chronic hepatitis C and a further 225,000 living with chronic hepatitis B, each year less two percent of people with hepatitis C and only around 5 percent of people with hepatitis B are treated. In Queensland, about 68,000 people have been exposed to hepatitis C and 37,000 are living with chronic hepatitis B.”

Can Sorafenib Increase Survival of Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Liver Transplantation?
18 Jul 2014
The study reviewed data from 247 HCC patients from 2002 – 2013. Recurrence of HCC occurred in 22 patients and 9 of those patients received sorafenib. Median survival was 42 months for sorafenib-treated patients compared to 16.2 months for patients without sorafenib. This was an improved survival rate over historic controls.

Covidien Unveils Advanced Ablation Device for Liver Tumors
17 Jul 2014
The Emprint Ablation System with Thermosphere Technology uses ultrasound or CT scanning to precisely deliver heat directly to diseased soft tissue. The system offers surgeons three types of spatial energy: thermal, field and wavelength to create predictable spherical ablation zones to simplify needle placement and save planning and procedure time. Emprint can be used for minimally invasive surgery and open surgery.

Entecavir Therapy Did Not Eliminate HCC Risk In Patients With HBV
16 Jul 2014
European patients who had HBV at least six months and had been previously treated with entacavir (ETV) were recruited for the study. Fourteen patients developed HCC over a median follow-up of 167 weeks. The highest incidence of the disease occurred in those with cirrhosis for over five years and older patients. “While the risk of HCC in ETV-treated patients is low through up to 5 years of treatment, ETV therapy does not eliminate the risk of HCC. Screening or risk groups, therefore, remains necessary despite successful ETV therapy, at least during the first years of treatment,” stated the authors of the study.

Veterans with HCV Genotype 3 at Greater Risk for Cirrhosis, HCC
14 Jul 2014
Baylor College of Medicine investigators studied over 110,000 patients from the VA case registry from 2000 – 2009; 70.2% were Vietnam era vets. “We found that HCV genotype 3 was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing cirrhosis and HCC compared to the more common HCV genotype 1,” concluded Baylor MD, Fasiha Kanwal.

Yashoda Cancer Institute Commences Radiosurgery Treatments Using Clinac Linear Accelerator
14 Jul 2014
The Clinac Linear Accelerator allows surgeons to perform stereotactic body radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery via a beam that constantly shapes and reshapes during rotation to match the size shape and size of the tumor. The treatment delivers a total dose in fewer sessions: a regimen that once took weeks can be completed in a few 15-minute sessions. This is good news for patients whose tumors are inoperable because they now have an alternative to surgery.

Outfield Guitarist John Spinks Dies of Liver Cancer
9 Jul 2014
The rocker had been battling the disease for years and struggled to finish the band’s comeback album, Replay, in 2011. “There were times when he could barely pick up his guitar, but he refused to give up, knowing he would disappoint fans,” the band said in a statement. The band reached Number 6 on the charts with their 1986 hit “Your Love” from their debut album Play Deep. Spinks was 60.

CASI Pharmaceuticals Receives U.S. Orphan Drug Designation For The Use of ENMD-2076 To Treat Hepatocellular Carcinoma
7 Jul 2014
The US FDA designation will help further advance development of the company’s promising treatment. ENMD-2076 has shown encouraging activity in Phase I liver cancer trial.

American Diet Risk Factor for Liver Cancer
4 July 2014
A recent study fed physically inactive mice a diet high in trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. After 6 months, the mice were showing early signs of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and after 12 months, more advanced liver inflammation. Liver tumors and early signs of HCC were found in 6 out of 10 of the mice on this diet after 12 months. The study authors concluded,” An adipogenic lifestyle alone is sufficient for the development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatic stem cell activation, and hepatocarcinogenesis in wild-type mice.”

Drug Everolimus Fails To Improve Overall Survival In Advanced Liver Cancer Patients
2 Jul 2014
Researchers at Harvard Medical School, Boston gave 546 HCC patients whose disease advanced during or after treatment with sorafenib the drug everolimus or a placebo. No significant difference in survival was found between the two groups. “The results from (this study, EVOLVE-1) extends the list of failed Phase 3 studies in advanced HCC, highlighting the challenge of developing effective therapies for this cancer,” concluded the authors.

Immunitor’s Breakthrough In Cancer Immunotherapy
25 Jun 2014
In an open label salvage study in Mongolia, 13 patients with inoperable HCC were given a vaccine containing a mixture of antigens and alloantigens from pooled blood. After an average of 2.2 months of treatment, 12 out of 13 patients experienced tumor clearance or regression with no adverse side effects and were alive after 9 months, three times the normal range for terminal HCC. “This outstanding clinical response highlights the therapeutic potential of our vaccine, especially when one considers the fact that all of our patients were in terminal stage of our disease. To the best of our knowledge such an outcome is better than one can find in the entire cancer immunotherapy field,” stated company CEO, Dr. Aldar Bourinbaiar.

GenSpera Releases 2014 BIO International Presentation and HCC Clinical Trial Update for G-202
24 Jun 2014
Interim results from the phase Ib and ongoing phase II study in HCC show that 80% of treated patients had no tumor growth and 50% of patients showed stable disease at 4 months. G-202 is engineered from thapsigargin, a cytotoxic agent developed from the Thapsia garganica plant. It was created by pairing a prostate-specific membrane antigen to a non-toxic form of thapsigargin that would be activated by a specific protein found only at the tumor site. Normal cells are left unharmed while a higher concentration of the active agent can be delivered directly to the tumor.

BCAA Decreased Risk For HCC, Death Among Patients With Cirrhosis
23 Jun 2014
Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation administered to patients with cirrhosis led to a decreased incidence for HCC and mortality.

Antiviral Therapy Can Prevent Liver Cancer In Chronic Hepatitis B Patients
23 Jun 2014
Taiwanese researchers using the oral antiviral agent NUC reduced liver cancer in a large cohort of chronic hepatitis B patients while investigators in Korea used the antiviral agent entecavir and the less potent drug, lamivudine, to treat hepatitis B patients. Scientists from both studies recommend that antiviral therapy needs to be implemented early during HBV infection in order to avert the risk of cancer.

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Linked To Cancer Rise
22 Jun 2014
In a study of National Cancer Institute data of Medicare patients from 1993 – 2007, investigators found a pathophysiology for development of HCC in non-cirrhotic nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients. NAFLD was the third most common risk factor for HCC after infection and alcoholic diseases in the general population and the second most common risk factor after infection in Asian and Pacific Islanders. Overall, the odds of developing HCC were higher in patients with cirrhotic NAFLD than in patients with non-cirrhotic NAFLD.

Sharp Rise in Cancers Caused By Lifestyle: Alcohol, Obesity and Legacy of Sunshine are to Blame, Say Experts
19 Jun 2014
British researchers blame unhealthy lifestyle choices for the skyrocketing rise in liver cancer: 66% overall since 2003. Rates have risen by 70% for men and 60% for women over that time span and account for 2,478 cases of the disease in England and Wales every year.

Lixte’s Lead Compound LB-100 Reported To Enhance Chemotherapy Effectiveness in Animal Models of Liver Cancer
18 Jun 2014
LB-100 is a phosphatase inhibitor currently in a Phase I cancer trial in the United States. Investigators at Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China reported, “LB-100 significantly enhanced inhibition of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by doxorubicin and cisplatin in vitro and in vivo,” and “may be a novel approach for enhancing the cytotoxic treatment of HCC and potentially other cancers.”

Benefit of HCC Screening Uncertain for Those with Chronic Liver Disease
18 Jun 2014
In a systematic review of 22 studies of HCC clinical trials and observational studies, there was a question as to the benefit of screening for the disease to long-term survival of patients. “There is very low-strength evidence… about the effects of HCC screening on mortality in high-risk patients with chronic liver disease. There is limited evidence from which to draw firm conclusions about the balance of health outcome benefits and harms of using routine screening to identify HCC,” stated researchers from Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University.

Urinary Metabolite Panel Effectively Diagnosed HCC Stage in West African Patients
18 Jun 2014
Researchers collected and assessed urine samples from two West African liver disease studies and found that urinary metabolite panels outperformed serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in monitoring specific stages of HCC. “Further verification and discovery of additional urinary metabolites by mass spectrometry and identification of a combination of metabolites integral to diagnosis of small HCCs would be the most rational direction of future research,” wrote researchers.

Lilly’s Cyramza Fails in Liver Cancer Trial
11 Jun 2014
Cyramza, Eli Lilly’s recently approved stomach cancer drug, failed to prolong the lives of late-stage HCC patients. The company stated that there were some secondary benefits to the drug including tumor shrinkage and a delay in disease progression.

Antiviral Therapy May Prevent Liver Cancer in Hepatitis B Patients
9 Jun 2014
Results in a multi-site US study that analyzed 2,600 adult hepatitis B patients showed that overall occurrence of HCC was lower in those patients treated with antiviral therapy. In total, 3% of patients developed HCC during the span of the study, but those who received antiviral therapy had a 60% lower chance of developing HCC than untreated patients. “With this information, clinicians can begin to prescribe antiviral therapy for hepatitis B patients with the goal of preventing a common and dangerous form of cancer,” stated Joseph Boscarino, Ph.D., senior scientist and investigator at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Liver Cancer Vaccine Effective in Mice
3 Jun 2014
Vaccines help direct the immune system to attack disease by showing it a representative substance, an antigen, that the body will recognize as an invader. Alpha-fetoprotein, AFP, is an antigen expressed by liver cancer cells and scientists have engineered AFP to get the immune system to recognize it and make it useful as a vaccine to fight liver cancer cells in mice. The vaccine was 90% effective in a proven model where mice were exposed to chemicals known to cause liver cancer.

Adjuvant Sorafenib Failed to Extend RFS in HCC
2 Jun 2014
University of Barcelona researchers evaluated data from 1,114 HCC patients who underwent surgical resection or local ablation and were treated with sorafenib for up to four years. Recurrence-free survival (RFS) was not achieved and there was no significant outcome between patients who received Sorafenib or the placebo.

Diabetes Increased Risk for HCC Mortality in Middle-Aged, Elderly Patients
2 Jun 2014
Taiwanese researchers conducted a 10-year study of over 50,000 patients without chronic hepatitis B or C infection and cirrhosis to determine any link between diabetes and HCC. Analysis revealed that patients with a history of diabetes were at a higher risk of death from HCC, particularly women. “We suggest that middle-aged and elderly individuals having diabetes deserve HCC surveillance to reduce deaths from HCC,” concluded the researchers.

Can-Fite Announces That The US FDA Has Agreed With Its Phase II Liver Cancer Protocol
2 Jun 2014
The study will be conducted in the United States, Israel and Europe on 78 HCC patients with cirrhosis who have failed sorafenib therapy. CF-102, a small, orally bioavailable drug, will be used as a second-line treatment for advanced HCC. The study will investigate the efficacy and safety of the drug compared to a placebo.

Thyroid, Liver, Pancreatic Cancer Burden to Increase
22 May 2014
According to a study published online by Cancer Research, breast, prostate and lung cancers will remain the dominant cancer diagnoses until 2030. After that time, pancreatic and liver cancers are projected to become the number two and three most diagnosed cancers. “Advances in screening, prevention and treatment can change cancer incidence and/or death rates, but it will require a concerted effort by the research and healthcare communities now to effect a substantial change for the future,” stated the authors.

Exalenz Bioscience Expands Its Breath Testing Technology Into The Potential Billion Dollar Liver Diagnostic Market
21 May 2014
In the second half of 2014, the company will start a Phase II clinical trial of its breath test for the diagnosis of HCC. An earlier study of the test found a high correlation with imaging (MRI and CT) in the diagnosis of the disease. “The Exalenz breath test has shown early evidence of efficacy as a diagnostic and a follow up tool for liver patients in a non-invasive, convenient and valuable manner for both patients and the healthcare industry,” said Larry Cohen, Exalenz CEO.

Celsion Advances Global Regulatory Efforts in Support of Pivotal Phase III OPTIMA Study of ThermoDox ® in Primary Liver Cancer
21 May 2014
The study received the green light to go ahead in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada. “We are building momentum with our global regulatory efforts and establishing paths to approval in critical liver cancer markets worldwide,” stated Michael H. Tardugno, Celsion’s President and CEO.

BioAlliance Gets FDA Fast Track Status for Livatag to Treat Primary Liver Cancer
20 May 2014
Livatag is a nanoparticulate therapy designed to breach the resistance mechanisms of liver tumor cells. In the U.S., Livatag is a second-line treatment after treatment with Sorafenib; in Europe, a Phase III trial of the drug is ongoing.

What’s Behind The Rise In Rates Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
17 May 2014
While rates of HCC-related mortality have been declining in areas of high-incidence, like China and Japan, rates are increasing in traditional low-incidence areas, like the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. The incidence of HCC in the U.S. has nearly tripled over the last 30 years with liver-related mortality in southern Texas similar to that in some parts of China. Worldwide, more than half of all HCC cases result from HBV infection while 30% are associated with HCV infection; in the United States, those rates are 15% and 47%, respectively. Risk factors for HCV-infected patients developing HCC: older age, longer duration of HCV-infection, male gender and race. For HBV-infected patients: male gender, alcohol consumption, coinfection with HCV, hepatitis D virus and HIV.

Celsion Corporation Announces ThermoDox® Abstract Accepted at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology 50th Annual Meeting
16 May 2014
A retrospective analysis by the company of the 701 patient Phase III HEAT study shows that efficacy improves when radiofrequency ablation is combined with ThermoDox and when dwell time of RFA is greater than 45 minutes. The HEAT study serves as the basis for the upcoming OPTIMA phase III study, which will enroll 550 HCC patients who will undergo the RFA/ThermoDox combined therapy.

Youngstown Golf Tournament To Benefit Toddler’s “Wings”
16 May 2014
Lucas Standish was 18 months old when he was diagnosed with Hepatocellular Carcinoma. A week later, Lucas underwent surgery to remove 80%of his liver, but the tumor came back and within six months, he passed away. Wings Flights For Hope, Inc. is a non-profit whose mission is to alleviate the expense of travel for families who have medical issues that cannot be treated in their area.

OLYSIO (simeprevir) Receives EC Marketing Authorization For Treatment Of Genotype 1 and 4 CHC
16 May 2014
After three studies have shown the success of simeprevir as part of a triple-therapy for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) types 1 and 4, the European Commission announcement will give patients more treatment options. “Simeprevir is a well-tolerated and efficacious addition to our therapies against Hepatitis C, and is a welcome development for both those with genotype 1 and those with genotype 4,” said Dr. Andrew Ustianowski, Chair of the British Viral Hepatitis Group at North Manchester General Hospital.

NKCU Professor Discovers Drug To Inhibit Liver Cancer
16 May 2014
Taiwanese researchers have discovered that Amiodarone, an anti-arrhythmic drug, can inhibit tumorigenesis of liver cancer. This is an off-label use of the drug, which offers patients a cheaper alternative with less toxicity. The findings are published in the 2014 issue of Hepatology.

NeoStem Announces Licensing Agreement To Begin Phase II Hepatocellular Carcinoma Trial In China
14 May 2014
The company’s DC-TC therapy grows cancer-initiating stem cells from a patient’s resected tumor sample, then enriches and inactivates them. These stem cells are combined with antigen-presenting cells, called dendritic cells, from the patient’s own body and then reintroduced into the bloodstream through subcutaneous injection. The Phase II study seeks to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the DC-TC therapy in HCC patients.

Liver Cancer Is Affecting Hispanics At An Alarming Rate In In Texas
9 May 2014
The incidence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma among Hispanics in Texas has increased 90% from 1993-2007; the growth rate of almost 2% a year is the highest in the United States. Hispanic males develop the disease at twice the rate of white males; Hispanic females at three times the rate of white females. Dr. David Monsour, hepatologist with Houston Methodist Medical, attributed the rise with the maturation of the hepatitis C epidemic and the increased incidence of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD.) Said Monsour: “We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Our goals are to raise the awareness of Texas physicians and the high risk groups to enhance early detection that we hope will lead to a cure or at least a liver transplant before it’s too late.”

VIDEO: PCPs Fuzzy on HCC Surveillance in Cirrhosis
8 May 2014
Several medical societies recommend cirrhosis patients undergo ultrasound surveillance for HCC every 6 months, but a study of primary care providers’ practice patterns, knowledge and attitudes regarding HCC suggests that less than 20% receive it. The study cites lack of provider information as the most common reason for failure for patients to get the screening.

Former British number one tennis champion Elena Baltacha dies aged 30 just two months after revealing liver cancer diagnosis
4 May 2014
Tennis player Elena Baltacha has died less than two months after revealing she had been diagnosed with liver cancer. The former British number one had vowed to fight the disease ‘with everything I have’ after breaking news of her illness in March. But last night, the sports star’s agents confirmed she had passed away aged 30, as her new husband said he was ‘heartbroken beyond words’.

Gilead’s Sovaldi Has Unclear Cancer Benefit, German Agency Says
2 May 2014
While the benefits of Gilead Science’s Sovaldi at clearing hepatitis C from the human body are evident, the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health disputes its effectiveness in preventing liver cancer. In Germany, a 12-week course of Sovaldi costs $68,000, and the German Federal Joint Committee will take this and the Institute’s recommendation into account when making a final ruling on the drug’s benefit to patients. The ruling is a major step in determining price for Sovaldi in the country.

Patient Factors Affect Accuracy of AFP Detection of Liver Cancer
2 May 2014
University of Texas researchers analyzed data of cirrhosis patients with and without HCC from 2005-2112 where levels of a-fetoprotein (AFP) were used to detect HCC. “Based on a retrospective analysis… AFP level most accurately detects HCC in patients without HCV infection,” concluded the researchers.

Mass Screening Decreased Mortality Rate in HCC Taiwanese Patients
30 Apr 2014
From 2008 – 2010, 11,114 Taiwanese patients aged 45-69 were recruited in a mass abdominal ultrasonography (AUS) screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Researchers demonstrated a 31% reduction in HCC mortality in the AUS group compared to a non-AUS group. “This finding suggests the feasibility of mass screening for HCC with AUS that targets subjects not covered by the nationwide vaccination program against hepatitis B virus infection,” said the research team in a statement.

Can-Fite Submits Protocol to U.S. FDA for Phase II Liver Cancer Study
29 Apr 2014
CF 102 is a small, orally bioavailable drug candidate for the treatment of patients with advanced primary liver cancer. The company submitted the study protocol based on positive data from the phase I/II HCC study. CF-102 will be used as a second-line treatment in patients with advanced HCC and the study will investigate the efficacy and safety of the drug compared to a placebo.

Researchers Examine Role of Sortilin in Liver Cancer
29 Apr 2014
The progression of breast and colorectal cancers has been shown to be influenced by LDL, the “bad” cholesterol often blamed for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Sortilin, a possible alternative LDL cholesterol-receptor, “…Might assist in helping plasma LDL and other cholesterol-rich lipoproteins enter the system which might be responsible for the increased absorption of these cholesterol-rich lipoproteins into the liver that increases cell production and cancer growth,” stated researchers.

Senesco Announces Presentation on the Effectiveness on eIF5A in Inhibiting Tumor Progression in Liver Cancer Models
28 Apr 2014
The company’s novel gene therapy has caused cancer cell death and has inhibited Hepatocellular Carcinoma tumor growth in a study that is about to enter phase 1b/2a in cancer centers in the United States and South Africa. Senesco gave an oral presentation of the treatment at the 17th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy on May 21-24 in Washington D.C.

UMC Utrecht And Quirem Medical Team Up To Develop Holmium Microspheres For Liver Cancer
25 Apr 2014
Holmium microspheres are a palliative treatment for liver cancer where a low dosage is administered to determine whether the radioactivity is accumulating properly in the liver; when it is a higher dosage is given. HEPAR, the phase I clinical study concluded that the treatment was safe and the phase II study to further test safety is ongoing.

San Antonio’s Intrinsic Imaging To Conduct Global Clinical Trial For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
24 Apr 2014
The company has been awarded a clinical trial to assess patients with HCC using Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) which allows for analysis of blood vessels in a liver tumor. Two scans of the diseased liver are taken, one with and one without the contrasting agent gadolinium. If cells are healthy, the agent reenters the bloodstream; if cancer is present, the agent remains and provides excellent images of HCC tumors. “Intrinsic Imaging is dedicated to applying our therapeutic and regulatory expertise throughout this clinical trial towards assisting in the development of a new effective therapy to treat patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma,” said Todd A. Joron, President and COO of Intrinsic.

Celsion Updates Survival Data for Liver Cancer Drug
24 Apr 2014
The most recent analysis from the HEAT study, where a combination of Thermodox and an optimized radio frequency ablation (RFA) treat HCC, shows that the duration of the RFA is critical to successful clinical outcomes. These findings apply to patients with single HCC lesions from both size cohorts of 3 – 5 cm and 5 – 7 cm, which creates a subgroup of 285 patients. The clinical results from this subgroup indicate a 50% improvement in overall survival.

Government Launches Low-Cost Screening For Liver Cancer
19 Apr 2014
The Indian government ran the program at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences until April 25. The screening included blood tests for hepatitis B and C, the AFP tumor marker test, an upper abdomen ultrasound and a specialized scan of the liver called the fibroscan at a subsidized cost of Rs 1000. The Delhi government expected to screen 2000 people under the program.

Deaths From Viral Hepatitis Surpasses HIV/AIDS As Preventable Cause Of Deaths In Australia
17 Apr 2014
University of Melbourne researchers have found that liver cancer deaths in the country are increasing by 5% each year, with 1500 people estimated to succumb to the disease in 2014. “The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimated around 1.3 million people lost their lives to viral Hepatitis since 1990, which is comparable to the respective burdens of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” said Dr. Benjamin Cowie, from the University of Melbourne.

Data Suggest HCC Incidence in US May Have Peaked
16 Apr 2014
Researchers analyzed epidemiological studies and liver cancer mortality results to find that the drop in incidence of HCC was driven by a decline in the disease by middle-aged men, Asians and Pacific Islanders. Other findings showed that Black and Hispanic individuals aged 50 – 64 surpassed Asians and Pacific Islanders in incidence and mortality rates and that Washington, D.C., Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest age-adjusted rates for mortality and that North Dakota had the lowest.

New Advances in HCC Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment All Predicted to Improve Patient Outcomes
14 Apr 2014
There is a wide disparity in the detection rates of HCC around the world: In Japan, 80% of cases are discovered by screening compared to 15% in the UK, 35% in Spain and less than 10% in Hong Kong. The stage at which the disease was found varied dramatically, as well: In Japan, 59% of patients were suitable for liver transplant and 71% for potentially curative treatment compared to 26% and 32% in Spain, 37% and 38% in the UK and 8% and 10% in Hong Kong, respectively. “It would appear that the marked difference in the intensity of screening programs between different countries and the consequent variation in curative therapeutic options goes a long way to explaining the wide geographical variation in HCC survival. What we urgently need are centrally-coordinated screening programs across Europe to improve outcomes,” stated Dr. Helen Reeves, a gastroenterologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. Collaborators Present Preclinical Research on Liver Cancer at UK Oncolytic Virus Conference
14 Apr 2014
Reolysin®, the company’s anti-viral and anti-tumor therapy for virus-associated liver cancer, potentially inhibits HBV and HCV in vitro in human liver cells and does inhibit HCC xenograft growth and HCV replication in vivo. The goal of further study would be to determine if Reolysin could improve HCC clinical outcomes and be useful in treatment of patients with HBC/HCV, but not cancer.

BioAlliance Pharma Announces a New Positive DSMB Recommendation to Continue its Phase III Clinical Trial with Livatag® in Primary Liver Cancer
14 Apr 2014
A European Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB), overseeing the safety of the ReLive Phase III trial, unanimously recommended the continuation of the study. “ReLive is an international, randomized Phase III trial aiming at demonstrating the efficacy of Livatag® on survival in 400 patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (primary liver cancer) after failure of intolerance to Sorafenib.” The trial in ongoing in Europe and implementation is underway in the United States pending FDA approval.

New Hope For Liver Cancer Patients
13 Apr 2014
Associating Liver Partition with Portal Vein Ligation for Staged Hepatectomy, or ALPPS, is a two-step procedure for localized cancer on an otherwise healthy liver. The first surgery splits the liver, removes the tumors from the portion that is to be saved and redirects blood to that area. A week later, a scan is performed and if the liver remnant has grown to an adequate size, a surgery removes the auxiliary liver that is no longer needed. Surgeons say that average regeneration is 120% of pre-surgery size and that 98% of patients make it to the second surgery. This method has been used internationally for five years and the Iowa Methodist Transplant Center is one of the few places in the United States where it is performed.

Immunotherapy Could Help Tackle Tough Liver Cancer
11 Apr 2014
Glypican-3 (GPC3) is a tumor-associated antigen present in 70% of HCC, but not in healthy human tissue. “Isolating GPC3-specific T-cells and expressing them on patient’s T-cells can help treat HCC, as these T-cells can recognize and eliminate GPC3-positive HCC.”

Guerbet: FDA Approves Lipiodol ® (Ethiodized Oil) Injection for Imaging of Tumors in Adults with Known Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)
10 Apr 2014
Lipiodol is the first and only oil-based, iodinated contrasting agent for selective hepatic, intra-arterial imaging of HCC tumors in adults. The agent has been supplied for the last three years under a temporary importation program, but can now be made more accessible for US patients as soon as product from a newly authorized manufacturing plant in the US is available.

ProMetic’s PBI-4050 Delivers New Positive Preclinical Results in Liver Fibrosis and Liver Cancer
10 Apr 2014
Liver fibrosis was induced in animal models by chronic administration of carbon tetrachoride (CCL4) and those animals given PBI-4050 showed a significant reduction of liver lesions. Researchers believe that this data shows that the drug’s anti-fibrotic activity could treat liver conditions such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). “The progression from fibrosis to cirrhosis to Hepatocellular Carcinoma is well defined in humans. The positive effects observed with PBI-4050 in multiple challenging animal models bodes well for its potential use to treat various medical conditions involving and or leading to fibrosis,” said Dr. John Moran, Chief Medical Officer at Prometic.

Novel Anti-Tumor Agent May Inhibit Cell Growth in HCC Patients
9 Apr 2014
Chinese researchers have discovered that in vitro HCC cell growth was suppressed by 6-fluoro-3-formylchromone (FCC). Human HCC cells were exposed to various levels of the agent over 48 – 72 hours and tumor cell growth was curtailed, and apoptosis, or cell death occurred, as well.

IntegraGen Announces Collaborative Agreement with Pfizer to Evaluate IntegraGen’s Proprietary Hepatocellular Carcinoma Molecular Signature
3 Apr 2014
The agreement will evaluate IntegraGen’s 56-gene molecular signature in predicting the prognosis of HCC patients based on molecular characteristics of their liver tumors. The use of the signature, “…may help to identify specific patient populations who would benefit from Pfizer’s experimental compounds, if approved by regulatory authorities,” stated Dr. Bernard Courtieu, CEO of IntegraGen.

Nimbus Discovery to Present Data Showing That Selective ACC Inhibitors Dramatically Inhibit Tumor Growth in Pre-Clinical Models at AACR Annual Meeting 2014
2 Apr 2014
A growing tumor generates fat to provide energy for itself, but Acetyl CoA Carboxylase (ACC) is an enzyme that limits fat synthesis and could be targeted to limit tumor growth. Nimbus’ ND-654 is a small molecule therapy for HCC that has been shown to be effective in pre-clinical models of the disease. “A highly potent and targeted treatment for HCC would be a welcome alternative to currently available drugs that have significant side effects and modest efficacy.”

Screening for Liver Cancer in Patients with Cirrhosis
1 Apr 2014
University of Texas researchers reviewed and analyzed data from 47 studies involving 15,158 patients who had cirrhosis and underwent surveillance for HCC. Hepatocellular Carcinoma was detected at an earlier stage in these patients, they had a better chance of receiving curative versus palliative treatment and they lived longer. Analysis of all 47 studies showed that 3-year survival was 50.8% among patients who underwent surveillance for HCC compared to 27.9% for those who did not undergo prior surveillance.

Enhanced 3-D MRI More Accurately Measured Liver Tissue After Chemotherapy   
27 Mar 2014
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital compared 2-D and 3-D images of 140 patients with liver tumors and were able to differentiate between live and dead tumor tissue and determine the success of chemotherapy on those patients. The margin of error for 3-D analysis was 10% compared to 40% for 2-D imaging. “Our high-precision, 3-D images of tumors provide better information to patients about whether chemoembolization has started to kill their tumors so that physicians can make more well-informed treatment recommendations,” said Jean-Francois Geschwind, MD, director of vascular and interventional radiology at Johns Hopkins.

Sirtex Medical, Guerbet To Collaborate For Primary And Secondary Liver Cancer Studies
27 Mar 2014
SIR-Spheres microspheres are used in radioembolization for the treatment of inoperable liver tumors. Guerbet’s Lipiodol Ultra Fluid is used in transarterial chemoembolization for the treatment of inoperable liver tumors, as well. The goal of the collaboration is to explore how the two treatments can be combined to better treat Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Global Partners SillaJen, Transgene and Lee’s Pharmaceutical Confirm Clinical Development Plan for Pexa-Vec
26 Mar 2014
Pexa-Vec is an engineered vaccine that promotes an anti-tumor response that is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells. The three companies plan to launch a global Phase III study in the first-line treatment of advanced HCC as a standalone therapy, as well as in combination with a number of other therapies. The study will be conducted in Europe, North America and Asia and will enroll 600 patients.

Cellular Biomedicine Group Releases Positive Results From Phase I Clinical Trial for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
25 Mar 2014
Safety data showed no adverse events directly related to the drug and no laboratory abnormalities. “We are very pleased with the positive results of this trial, which show TC-DC to be safe, and are now in a position to plan a Phase II trial to further test its safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Wei Cao, CEO of Cellular Biomedicine, Inc.

G-202 Represents Novel Approach for Attacking Advanced HCC   
24 Mar 2014
Researchers have attempted to engineer thapsigargin, a cytotoxic agent developed from the Thapsia garganica plant, into a therapy for advanced HCC, but have been unable to do so due to the toxicity to healthy tissue. G-202 was created by pairing a prostate-specific membrane antigen to a non-toxic form of thapsigargin that would be activated by a specific protein found only at the tumor site. Normal cells are left unharmed while a higher concentration of the active agent can be delivered directly to the tumor. A phase I, open-label, single-arm, dose escalation study on patients with advanced cancer is underway with the goal of determining safety.

Rapid Rise In Liver Cancer Cases Requires Policy Intervention, Mass Screening
20 Mar 2014
Medical experts from India and the Asia-Pacific region estimate that in India alone, 25-40 million people are infected with Hepatitis B and C. In Australia over the last decade, liver cancer has increased almost 50% and liver cancer deaths have doubled. Health officials in both countries are concerned that liver cancer prevention programs cannot be implemented without catching the disease sooner. “Strategies to increase screening and treatment programs in high-risk populations are urgently needed across the region…,” said Dr. Shah, National Liver Foundation, Mumbai.

101 Liver Cancer Drug Candidates Pave the Way to Personalized Medicine  
19 Mar 2014
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have used a cutting-edge, simulation-based technique that uses personal protein sets from HCC patients to discover and evaluate potential new drugs for HCC. Perhexiline, one of the tested drugs that is used to treat heart disease, had a similar effect to sorafenib on HCC, according to the predictive computer models. “With this approach we can find and evaluate new potential drugs, some that could be used for general treatment of HCC, and others that are highly specific for each HCC patient. We can also predict false positive drug targets that would not be effective in all patients. This would lead to more targeted and efficient cancer treatment,” said Dr. Adil Mardinoglu, shared lead research author.

Liver Cancer Among Mongolians Among Highest In The World: Is Alcohol To Blame?
19 Mar 2014
World Cancer Research Fund statistics from 2012 show that Mongolians have the highest per capita rate of liver cancer in the world, and that even though men are more likely to contract the disease women are just as likely to die from it. The Mongolian Ministry of Health believes that high alcohol production and consumption are to blame for the high rate of liver cancer.

Those With Both HIV and Hepatitis C Face High Liver Cancer Rates
19 Mar 2014
University of Pennsylvania researchers analyzed data on 4,280 patients coninfected with HIV and HCV on antiretroviral treatment and 6,079 monoinfected HCV patients on medical care from 1997 – 2010. Coinfected patients had a 56% higher incidence of decompensated cirrhosis than monoinfected patients, and those with a high HIV viral load had a 59% higher incidence of advanced liver disease. “Our results suggest that serious consideration should be given to initiating hepatitis C treatment in patients coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C—particularly among those with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis—in order to try to reduce the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening liver complications,” said Vincent Lo Re III, lead author of the study.

Schizophrenia Linked to Liver Cancer
18 Mar 2014
A 12-year Taiwanese study has found that men with schizophrenia have double the chance of developing HCC compared to the control group. Schizophrenic patients with cirrhosis and hepatitis B are 20 times more likely to develop HCC than the control group. The study author surmised that schizophrenic patients might have a genetic susceptibility to HCC or simply might not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

FTIR Blood Test For Liver Cancer

18 Mar 2014
Australian and Thai researchers published results of a preliminary study where human serum is tested with FTIR microspectroscopy to distinguish between healthy livers and cirrhosis and liver cancer. Senior reporter Philip Heraud from Monash University said FTIR microspectroscopy,”…may be clinically useful as an indicator for liver cancer diagnosis.”

Novel Model Predicted Survival Rates For HIV-Infected HCC Patients

14 Mar 2014
Researchers used a proportional hazard analysis of 256 HCC/HIV co-infected patients to develop the SHILCA score that predicts survival better than other methods for HIV-negative HCC patients. The score divided patients into 4 different disease-stage groups and used seven variables to predict survival. “The SHILCA score and staging model that includes HIV viral load, performance status and five other baseline variables can predict survival of HCC in HIV-infected patients with a high degree of accuracy,” the researchers concluded.

Presentation at Annual Society of Surgical Oncology Meeting Updates Progress in Investigator-Sponsored Phase I/II Trial of Peregrine’s Bavituximab in Combination With Sorafenib in Liver Cancer
14 Mar 2014
Bavituximab is a targeted immunotherapy for liver cancer that enables the immune system to recognize the tumor and fight it. Results of phase I showed that the drug, in combination with sorafenib, was superior to sorafenib alone in treating HCC and that the combined therapy was well tolerated by patients. Phase II is ongoing with 34 of 38 patients enrolled and 10 currently on treatment. “This open-labeled trial is almost complete and while the results are preliminary, they are promising. I am excited about this potential combination given the new understandings about bavituximab’s mechanism and I look forward to sharing the full set of data from this Phase II trial later this year,” said Dr. Adam Yopp, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Bayer/Amgen’s Nexavar Fails In Late-Stage Study-Analyst Blog
12 Mar 2014
The phase III STORM study was evaluating the efficacy of Nexavar versus placebo as an adjuvant treatment for HCC patients who had no evidence of disease after surgical resection or ablation. Nexavar failed to meet the objective of improving recurrence-free survival, but Bayer stated that safety of the drug was consistent with prior findings. Nexavar is still approved for the treatment of HCC in the European Union.

Biostar Pharmaceuticals To Co-Develop Liver Cancer Drug With Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine
7 Mar 2014
The latest edition of the World Cancer Report states that about 50% of global liver cancer cases and 51% of worldwide liver cancer deaths happened in China. Biostar has signed a letter of intent with Shannxi University to develop a new liver cancer therapeutic based on oleanolic acid injection. Researchers report that the acid is quite effective in killing the hepatitis B virus and may be effective at killing liver cancer cells.

Breakthrough Therapy For HCV Infection
5 Mar 2014
Sovaldi is a drug used in combination with an antiviral regimen for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), as well as HCC patients that are awaiting liver transplant and patients with HCV/HIV-1 co-infection. Sofosbuvir is the active ingredient in Sovaldi and has achieved sustained virologic response in five phase 3 trials for HCV and one HCV/HIV-1 co-infected patient trial.

Gene Mutation Associated With Development Of Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma
28 Feb 2014
Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma is an extremely rare form of HCC that affects teens and young adults with only 200 people diagnosed annually. U.S. researchers sequenced the DNA and RNA from tumors that had been surgically removed from 15 fibrolamellar patients and found a mutated gene that created unnatural products, or chimeras, that can drive the cancer. “The hope is that we’d be able to screen the blood for the presence of this chimera, and patients wouldn’t have to wait until the tumors are present, until it might be too late to do something about it,” says Sanford Simon, senior author of the study.

Markers Predicted Aggressiveness In Early-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma
27 Feb 2014
South Korean researchers analyzed data from 329 HCC patients and determined that liver serum levels could predict whether patients with early-stage HCC needed surgical resection for micrometastases. These markers were a valid predictor of HCC aggressiveness and of early tumor recurrence after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) which can improve the prognosis for recurrence-free survival and overall survival rates.

Time Periods Affected Value Of Liver Transplantation For Patients With Resectable HCC
24 Feb 2014
In a multinational study of 1,028 HCC patients with cirrhosis, hepatic resection was preferable to liver transplant (LT) on a 5-year timetable due to microscopic vascular invasions (MVI) of the liver. Conversely, on the 10-year timetable, liver transplant was preferable to resection in all subgroups of resectable patients.

Celsion Says FDA Clears Planned OPTIMA Study
24 Feb 2014
The Phase III double-blind, placebo-controlled OPTIMA trial of Thermodox in combination with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) will enroll 550 patients at up to 100 sites in Europe, Asia, China and the U.S. It will launch in the first half of 2014. The trial is based on analysis of Celsion’s Phase III HEAT study, which showed that Thermodox in combination with optimized RFA treatment resulted in a 55% improvement in overall survival of HCC patients.

ANGLE Delighted With New Study Using Parsortix
24 Feb 2014
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) travel in the blood stream and reveal the presence or absence of tumors in the body. Parsortix has developed a system to analyze CTCs in metastatic liver cancer patients and researchers from the University of Surrey’s oncology department presented their findings at the Circulate conference. Taking blood samples from the peripheral and hepatic veins, the researchers were able to detect CTCs at higher concentrations in the hepatic vein than the peripheral, which shows that CTC concentration is higher in close proximity to the tumor. If this is the case, researchers believe that further study could show that the process of surgery itself releases CTCs into the bloodstream.

Osteoporosis Drug May Treat Breast And Liver Cancers
19 Feb 2014
Raloxifene, marketed under the name Evista, is used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, but may have other indications. Raloxifene is known to block estrogen from binding with a protein that causes breast cancer cells to multiply. Raloxifene also binds with a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) that could lead to development of new drugs for liver cancer and a class of stubborn breast cancers.

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Initiates Second Phase 1b Clinical Trial for OMP-54F28 (Fzd8-FC) With Sorafenib (Nexavar ®) In Hepatocellular Carcinoma
18 Feb 2014
OMP-54F28 is a therapeutic that has shown anti-cancer stem cell anti-tumor activity in combination with sorafenib in the treatment of HCC. The Phase 1b clinical trial will be a dose escalation study combined with sorafenib treatment for patients with first-line locally advanced or metastatic HCC. “Preclinical data suggests that OMP-54F28 adds significant anti-tumor activity to sorafenib by eradicating tumor-initiating cells in models for Hepatocellular Carcinoma. The safety profile for OMP-54F28 in the single-agent Phase 1 is favorable, and we will now explore its ability to combine with sorafenib in preparation for future potential randomized studies,” said Jakob Dupont, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of OncoMed.

Men Are 30 Percent More Likely Than Women To Die From Cancer
14 Feb 2014
Data from a global study published by Cancer Research UK shows that men are more likely to be diagnosed with difficult to treat cancers such those of the lung, liver, bladder and esophagus. Men in central and Eastern Europe were more likely to die than women, and women in East Africa had a higher death rate than men. “Age is the biggest risk factor for most cancers and as life-expectancy increases, we’ll see more people being diagnosed with the disease. But lifestyle also plays an important role,” stated Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistics at Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Drugs Hitch A Ride On “Smart” Gold Nanoshells
13 Feb 2014
Chinese researchers are using multifunctional “smart” gold nanoshells to fight liver cancer because of their ability to target cancer cells specifically while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Small peptides on the nanoshell’s surface are the key to targeting ability. When they enter the acidic environment of cancer cells, they trigger the release of the anticancer drugs. “The next step of our research is to test the “smart” gold nanoshells in vivo on a liver cancer mouse model. We will also examine how the size of the nanoshells changes their efficacy and how efficient the nanoshells are at converting near-infrared light into heat,” stated lead author Dr. Shunying Liu, from East China Normal University.

Study Finds DNA Coding Can Affect Ability To Fight Hepatitis C
13 Feb 2014
A University of Washington study has found that coding changes on chromosome 19 of the human genome are responsible for the body’s response to HCV treatment and its ability to fight off the virus. This could explain why the virus resists treatment in some infected patients. “This is a previously unknown strategy by which HCV evades the immune system and suggests that these microRNAs could be therapeutic targets for restoring the host’s antiviral response,” the researchers said.

Hepatitis B Screening Proposed for All High-Risk Adults
11 Feb 2014
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that, while most people born in the country are vaccinated for HBV, almost 1 million are infected, and of those with chronic HBV, 15%-25% die from liver disease or HCC. “The good news is that evidence shows we can catch the disease early in many people who are already infected by screening for hepatitis B virus infection in persons at high risk for infection,” said Dr. Douglas Owens, task force member and Stanford professor. In addition, the US has universal vaccinations at birth for HBV, with catch-ups for adolescents.

Proton Therapy Could Treat Liver Metastases
11 Feb 2014
Researchers at Loma Linda University Medical Center are using proton-based, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) as a safer treatment for metastatic liver cancer. The non-invasive therapy delivers high doses of radiation to the diseased parts of the liver while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. Phase I is ongoing and Phase II will begin by the end of 2014.

Can-Fite BioPharma Submits Phase II Study Protocol For Liver Cancer Drug
7 Feb 2014
CF 102 is a small, orally bioavailable drug candidate for the treatment of patients with advanced primary liver cancer. The Phase II study will include 78 patients and is designed to test safety and efficacy of the drug and will take place in Israel, Europe and the US. The company reported that data from the Phase 1/II study achieved trial objectives and showed a favorable safety profile for HCC patients.

ArQule’s Partner Kyowa Hakko Kirin Begins Phase III Trial With Tivantinib In Hepatocellular Carcinoma In Japan
6 Feb 2014
Approximately 160 patients will be enrolled in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to analyze progression-free survival of HCC patients on tivantinib versus a placebo. “With the commencement of this study, two phase III trials are now ongoing worldwide to evaluate the impact of tivantinib therapy in second line HCC,” said Brian Schwartz, MD, chief medical officer at ArQule.

Global Hospital Introduces Laparoscopic Liver Resection For Early Cancer Treatments
6 Feb 2014
Laparoscopic Liver Resection (LLR) removes liver tumors through keyhole-sized incisions to reduce post-surgical complications. Large-incision liver surgery has typically been more risky, but LLR significantly lowers morbidity. Dr. K. Ravindranath of Global Hospitals Group in Hyderabad, India said, “At the Global Institute of Liver Pancreas Diseases & Transplantation, the surgeons are deeply committed to continuously delivering cutting edge services to help people overcome their health problems.”

Liver Cancer Could Kill 40 Filipinos A Day By 2030
4 Feb 2014
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for the Philippines estimated that the current rate of 20 Filipino liver cancer deaths per day could double if not prevented now. Dr. Samuel So of Stanford’s Asian Liver Cancer Center said that liver cancer is the third leading cause of death in the country, 2nd among men and 5th among women. The IARC states that globally, the HBV virus accounts for 53% of primary liver cancer cases.

Eisai Announces Launch of Vascular Embolization Device DC Bead® in Japan
3 Feb 2014
DC Bead is an intravascular embolization device that injects microspheres via catheter into targeted blood vessels to achieve selective treatment of HCC and other hypervascularized tumors. Eisai will launch the specially controlled medical device in Japan on February 4; it is already marketed in 50 countries worldwide including Europe and the United States.

Liver Tumors Found In Mice Exposed To BPA
3 Feb 2014
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical found in plastics, cash register receipts and the lining of food cans. University of Michigan researchers have found the first statistically significant evidence of tumors caused by exposure to the chemical in mice models. They found that 27% of mice exposed to three different doses of BPA through their mother’s diet developed precancerous lesions and liver tumors. “This current study showing liver tumors in mice says let’s take another look at BPA and cancer in humans,” said Caren Winehouse, UM doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Environmental Health Sciences Department.

Researchers Identify Potential Genes That Can Be Targeted For New Treatments For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
31 Jan 2014
When highly expressed, the UHRF-1 gene causes HCC at an alarming rate. Israeli researchers found that changes in gene expression caused by high UHRF-1 levels in zebrafish animal models reflected changes in human tumors expressing high UHRF-1 levels. This shows that similar factors are behind UHRF-1-driven liver tumors in both species. “Down the road, we hope to develop drugs to target UHRF-1 and thereby reset the cancer epigenome to activate anti-tumor mechanisms and halt liver cancer,” stated Dr. Kirsten Sadler, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Ground Breaking Treatment For Cancer Of The Liver   
30 Jan 2014
Spire Southampton Hospital in the UK is using chemosaturation therapy, also known as percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP) to treat liver cancer. The minimally invasive procedure delivers high concentrations of chemotherapy to the liver in isolation via catheter for 30 minutes. The chemo-saturated blood is then haemofiltrated to remove 98% of the agent before the blood is returned to the body. Southampton is the only hospital in the UK to offer the treatment.

Patients With Child-Turcotte-Pugh Class-A Liver Function Showed Better OS Among Those With Advanced HCC
30 Jan 2014
The Child-Turcotte-Pugh score is used to assess the prognosis of chronic liver disease as well as the required strength of treatment and the necessity of liver transplantation. Taiwanese researchers studied 192 patients with advanced HCC being treated with several combined therapies and found that Class A patients had longer OS than Class B or C (median 7.5 vs. 1.3 vs. 1 month.) “Patients with advanced HCC are likely to have deteriorating liver reserves and poor prognosis when first-line treatment fails. However, selected patients who have Child-Turcotte-Pugh Class A liver function or who are potentially eligible for clinical trials may have substantially improved prognosis,” stated researchers.

Polaris Group’s ADI-PEG 20 Is A Radiosensitizer Of Pancreatic Cancer
27 Jan 2014
ADI-PEG 20 is a biologic developed to treat cancers carrying a major metabolic defect that makes such cancer cells unable to synthesize arginine, an amino acid essential for protein synthesis and cell survival. It is believed that these cancer cells are dependent on arginine to grow and survive and ADI-PEG 20 is designed to deplete this amino acid, which kills the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. The drug is being used for multiple indications, including a global phase 3 study for Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

OSU-CHS Receives Donation for Research
27 Jan 2014
Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences (CHS) department’s ongoing liver and cancer research has received $20,000 from Cancer Sucks, Inc. The department’s purpose is to discover how the hepatitis C virus in the liver develops into cancer. Cancer Sucks has donated to OSU-CHS over the past nine years for a total of $127,000.

Apply for Disability Benefits if You Have Liver Cancer
By Molly Clarke
25 Jan 2014
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to those who cannot work due to liver cancer. The SSA offers two main types of benefits: SSDI — offered to disabled workers who have paid Social Security taxes throughout their careers and SSI — offered to disabled individuals who earn limited income. To qualify for SSI, applicants must fall within the financial limits.

To qualify, you will have to meet certain medical requirements. These requirements will evaluate your cancer’s origin, location, response to treatment and severity. Typically, your cancer will have to be inoperable, recurrent or unresponsive to treatment. Liver cancer is included in the Compassionate Allowance Listings. Through this program, individuals with debilitating conditions can qualify for benefits in as little as ten days.

You will need to prepare for the application process by gathering medical documentation, financial records and employment information. Begin the application online or by telephone. Complete the application forms with consistent, relevant and detailed information. Your responses should give the SSA insight into the limitations that you face each day.

After submitting your application, you may receive a decision in as little as ten days or as long as several months. Be aware that many applications are denied upon initial submission and are only approved after filing an appeal. For this reason, you should not give up if the SSA rejects your initial claim.

For more information, visit the following page: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/compassionate-allowances/liver-cancer-and-social-security-disability

Liver Cancer Treatment Stage Four – Stunning Results From Alternative Cancer Treatment
21 Jan 2014
The Issels Integrative Immunotherapy differs from typical vaccine administration by integrating specific autologous cancer vaccines such as Dendritic Cell Vaccine, Lymphokine-Activated Killer (LAK) Cells and activated autologous Natural Killer (NK) Cells. This comprehensive immunobiologic core treatment helps the immune system by optimizing the efficacy of vaccine and cell therapies. Patients undergoing treatment have reported dramatic improvement in their condition at treatment facilities in Mexico and Santa Barbara, California.

Patent Profile: National Tsing Hua University Receives Patent For Method For Early Diagnosis Of Liver Cancer
20 Jan 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued a patent for a test of RNA expression levels obtained from hepatitis B virus positive liver cancer patients. These RNA levels were approximately double those of the control liver tissue and the higher levels correlated with a more advanced stage of liver cancer. The method is under review and can still be challenged.

Fatty Liver Disease Can Lead To Larger Health Concerns Including Liver Cancer

17 Jan 2014
Fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is a condition where fat deposits in the liver of people who do not drink to excess. This buildup of fat can inflame the liver and cause non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which can cause scar tissue to develop into cirrhosis and possibly Hepatocellular Carcinoma. While the cause of fatty liver disease is not clear and has no specific treatment, managing liver diseases such as hepatitis B and C, and risk factors such high cholesterol, diabetes, excess weight and lack of exercise can keep protect your liver.

Panel Favors Continuation of ArQule Liver Cancer Drug
16 Jan 2014
The company continues to test Tivantinib in patients with previously treated HCC at a dose of 120 mg after an independent committee found that liver cancer patients given a higher dose showed a greater likelihood of a blood disorder. The late-stage study is ongoing and patients are being monitored to confirm that the lower dose is safe.

MultiCell Technologies Files Patent Application Covering New Class of RNA Therapeutics
15 Jan 2014
“MCT-485 is a very small non-coding double stranded micro RNA (VSRNA) which has demonstrated oncolytic and immune stimulating activity in in vitro models of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.” VSRNAs can be selectively attached to vehicles that deliver the drug to targeted cell types that can have both long-term and therapeutic effects on cancers. Currently, MultiCell is testing MCT-485 in animal models that have HCC.

Mirna Recruiting Participants For MRX34 Liver Cancer Therapy Clinical Trial
15 Jan 2014
“Mirna is currently seeking participants in a phase I open-label, multicenter, dose-escalation study to investigate the safety and efficacy of the micro ribonucleic acid (microRNA) MRX34, in patients with unresectable primary liver cancer or advanced or metastatic cancer with liver involvement. MRX34 will be administered IV twice a week for 3 weeks with 1 week off (total 28 days) as a single agent.”

Surgery Tied to Better OS in Huge Liver Tumors
5 Jan 2014
Researchers at Sungyunkwan School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea compared long-term overall survival (OS) for HCC patients with large tumors who underwent resection and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). Resection versus TACE 1-year OS was, respectively, 69.7% versus 40.2%, 2-year 58.6% versus 33.9%, and 3-year 51.7% versus 18.5%. “The authors noted that patients presenting with huge tumors –10cm or greater in diameter – have worse survival than those with smaller tumors. Past research has shown that ablative treatment followed by a waiting period was superior to rapid transplantation.”

NTU Completes First Trial of Liver Tumor Procedure 
4 Jan 2014
National Taiwan University Hospital has completed trials of the Nanoknife procedure on patients with malignant liver tumors and has confirmed its efficacy and safety. Also known as irreversible electroporation (IRE), the procedure inserts electrode needles through the skin into the tumor and sends high voltage electrical pulses that create permanent nanopores in the cancer cell membranes. “The techniques used in traditional surgery, such as resection and ablation, may cause damage to blood vessels or other organs that are close to the tumor to be removed, and thus may not be performed on certain patients who have tumors located in dangerous areas,” stated Huang Kai-wen, attending physician at the hospital’s Hepatitis Research Center. The medical team has performed IRE via percutaneous, laparoscopic and open surgical approaches successfully.

Mechanism That Induces Migration of Tumor Cells in Liver Cancer Discovered
3 Jan 2014
In the early stages of tumorogenisis, TGFb is a small protein that suppresses HCC tumor growth and induces cell death. However, as the tumor grows, the cells mutate and are able to overcome the suppressive effect of TGFb and become migratory which is integral to metastasis. CXCR4 is another protein that is dependent on the expression of TGFB and when CXCR4 is inhibited, it blocks TGFb induced migration in HCC cells. “At a clinical level, we believe that patients that reveal an overactivation of TGFb coincident with high expression of CXCR4 in tumor invasion fronts, may be candidates for TGFb inhibitory potential therapies,” said Isabel Fabregat, lead researcher at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute.

UI Researchers Discover a Twist in Liver Cancer Development   
1 Jan 2014
University of Iowa researchers believe more strongly than ever that liver cancer can be prevented by avoiding alcoholism and obesity. Along with chronic hepatitis, these two things put stress on liver cells, which in turn respond by creating a protein called CHOP. Normally, “CHOP causes cells that are too damaged to be repaired to die,” said Dr. Thomas Rutkowski of the UI Carver Colleges of Medicine, but this is not the case in a cancerous liver. “What we actually found is that, quite to our surprise… is that in tumors of patients with liver cancer, we found that those tumors were making a lot of the CHOP protein,” said Rutkowski. Animal subjects that could not create CHOP did not develop liver cancer. Rutkowski hopes that these findings will lead to better forms of liver cancer therapy in the future.

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