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New Lab Could Lead To Faster Treatment For Liver Cancer Patients
30 April 2018
Many Singapore research institutions, along with South Korea’s Samsung Medical Center, have created a new program, which has the potential to shorten waiting time from three to four months, to just three, or four weeks, to determine which drugs are most effective against a liver cancer patient’s condition. The program uses cells of the tumor samples taken from a patient. The cells are tested against different drugs to see which works best for a patient. This program is a collaboration between the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and Genome Institute of Singapore, the National Cancer Center Singapore (NCCS), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Samsung Medical Center.

Recreating Liver Tumors As Organoids For Faster, More Accurate Drug Screening
27 April 2018
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. HCC claims so many lives because diagnosis often occurs only when the cancer has already advanced. Researchers have developed models of liver tumors called patient-derived xenografts (PDX), to more closely mimic the features of human tumors. This involves taking a small tissue sample from patients. Through this technology, one PDX can be used to produce tens to hundreds of such organoid-containing scaffolds. The samples are able to retain the genetic features and heterogeneity of the original liver tumors. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the screening and development of liver cancer drugs.

Metastatic Cancer Gorges On Fructose In The Liver
26 April 2018
Xiling Shen, associate professor and his team of biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that metastatic cancer cells can reprogram their metabolism to thrive in new organs. Their research shows that cells originating from colorectal cancer change their dietary habits to capitalize on the high levels of fructose often found in the liver. During their research, they found one group of metabolic genes stood out in particular, those involved in the metabolism of fructose. This information can provide insight into how cancers thrive after metastasizing; this discovery can lead to new therapies specifically targeting metastatic cells.

HCC: Third-Line Treatments And Beyond
25 April 2018
Dr. Finn states: “The fact that we’re talking about third-line options in advanced liver cancer is really remarkable. If you think about where we were not that long ago, we had sorafenib and only sorafenib for 10 or more years. So, for example, if they had sorafenib frontline and then received regorafenib at progression, upon progression on regorafenib, then it would be very appropriate to give them nivolumab. Or, if the sequence was sorafenib then nivolumab, then on progression on nivolumab, I would offer them regorafenib. The fact that we have drugs that have proven efficacy in liver cancer means that we need to follow our patients with imaging. The recent approvals and positive studies in liver cancer are very exciting”

Therapeutic Approach For HCC Progression
25 April 2018
Dr. Finn States: “We are now a year later and the patient has been managed on sorafenib with what appears to be a good response initially but now has evidence of progression. As far as therapeutically, we are now in the era of second-line treatment, and there are several treatments available. One would be regorafenib, which has been shown to improve survival versus placebo. The RESORCE study was the first phase III study to show a survival benefit of a systemic treatment after progression on sorafenib. And in the United States, we now have the availability to use nivolumab. Patients who progressed on sorafenib were randomized to cabozantinib … and this also showed a survival advantage, though at this time, that’s not FDA approved.”

New Nivolumab Dosing Schedules Approved In Europe
25 April 2018
The European Commission has approved a 4-week dosing schedule for nivolumab (Opdivo). “This approval marks a significant achievement in our longstanding commitment to providing patients and healthcare providers with more flexible and convenient treatment options,” Fouad Namouni, MD, head of development, Oncology, BMS. Physicians can now prescribe the new dosing schedule of 480 mg of nivolumab infused every 30 minutes every 4 weeks for HCC patients who have already undergone sorafenib therapy.

Radiation Segmentectomy Shows Promise In Treatment Of Early-Stage Liver Cancer
24 April 2018
According to a new study, radiation segmentectomy (RS) could give physicians a new tool in the fight against early-stage liver cancer. Researchers performed a retrospective study using data from 70 patients with solitary Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) 5 cm or less, not amenable to percutaneous ablation. Ninety percent of patients showed response based on European Association for the Study of the Liver guidelines and 59 percent of that group showed complete response. The researchers will keep following the study group to help improve patient care.

Vitamin A Derivative Selectively Kills Liver Cancer Stem Cells
23 April 2018
Researchers have found that an artificial compound derived from Vitamin A, called acyclic retinoid, to prevent the recurrence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). A research group led by Soichi Kojima of the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Science looked at the transcriptome of cells that had been exposed to acyclic retinoid, and found that compared to control untreated cells, they had low expression of MYCN, a gene that is often expressed in tumors and is correlated with poor prognosis. The team also discovered that the compound targets one class of cancer stem cells, preventing them from giving rise to new tumors. A phase 3 clinical trial of acyclic retinoid (also called Peretinoin), is currently underway in Korea, Taiwan and Singapore to test the drug’s ability to prevent HCC recurrence.

New Study Sheds Light On Treating Liver Cancer
23 April 2018
A recent study by the School of Life Sciences at UNIST, scientists finally found genetic evidence to combat liver cancer. The point of this investigation is to give a top to bottom knowledge on the capacity of TonEBP in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Scientists are now investigating the role played by TonEBP in the recurrence of liver cancer, as well as chemotherapy resistance. In collaboration with Ulsan University Hospital, the team found that TonEBP is involved at multiple steps of the common pathway of HCC development and tumor progression.

Feasible To Treat Hepatitis C At Scale, Study Read More From Asian Scientist Magazine At: Scale, Study
23 April 2018
A recent study presented at The International Liver Congress 2018, showed an effective public health initiative developed in India to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A total of 29,371 patients were enrolled in one year. A decentralized, algorithm-based public health model helped cure over 90 percent of patients with hepatitis C virus infections in Punjab, India. The treatment was developed using sofosbuvir-based regimens to treat all patients. “This study is an impressive example of how to upscale the treatment of hepatitis C, which is important to reduce hepatitis C-related complications, particularly the development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma,” said Professor Markus Cornberg from the Hannover Medical School, Germany.

Therapeutic Options Continue To Grow For HCC
20 April 2018
The number of treatments for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) continues to increase. During the past year, new treatments included the multikinase inhibitor regorafenib (Stivarga) and the PD-1 antibody nivolumab (Opdivo). In advanced HCC, liver embolotherapy techniques include TAE. Another treatment is radioembolization, which is radiation necrosis from beta-emitting Yttrium-90 microspheres. 2009 brought the approval of sorafenib (Nexavar). In 2017 was the phase III RESORCE study, which investigated second-line regorafenib versus placebo in patients with HCC who had progressed on sorafenib.

US FDA Clears OBI Pharma’s IND Application For Phase I/II Study Of OBI-3424 Targeting AKR1C3 Solid Tumors
20 April 2018
The FDA has cleared an investigational new drug known as IND for a phase I/II study of OBI-3424, a first-in-class DNA alkylating agent that targets cancers that overexpress the aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) enzyme. Conducting the trial is OBI Pharma, Inc., a Taiwan biopharma company. OBI plans to enroll patients with local solid tumors, including Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). AKR1C3 overexpression has been documented in a number of treatment-resistant and difficult-to-treat cancers including HCC. Individualized patient selection by staining for AKR1C3 overexpression by immunohistochemistry can be performed to identify patients that are most likely to respond to treatment with OBI-3424, and thus offering the possibility for a streamlined clinical development strategy.

Growing Liver Cancer In The Lab May Speed Up Drug Testing
19 April 2018
Researchers have now developed a method for growing liver cancer cells in the lab. Using patient-derived xenografts (PDX), researchers developed models of these kinds of cancerous growths to more accurately mimic the tumor environment to grow liver cancer cells. Using special technology, researchers can use one PDX to produce tens to hundreds of such scaffolds containing organoids. With their ability to recapitulate the genetic features and heterogeneity of the original liver tumors, these tumor avatars have the potential to revolutionize the screening and development of liver cancer drugs for patients.

Chinese Scientists Find New Trick Of Old Medicine To Cure Liver Cancer
18 April 2018
Chinese researchers have uncovered a new mechanism that drives the development of liver cancer brought on by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is a risk factor for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), but the molecular processes underlying how NAFLD leads to HCC remain unclear. The team found that mice with an overactive SQLE gene developed HCC tumors more frequently compared to wild type mice and Terbinafine, a compound commonly used to treat athlete’s foot, markedly reduced the size of tumors in mouse models of NAFLD.

Cabometyx Could Be Exelixis’s Long-Term Growth Driver
18 April 2018
The FDA accepted Exelixis’s (EXEL) supplemental New Drug Application (or sNDA) for Cabometyx as a therapy for the treatment of individuals with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Exelixis’s sNDA was based on the results of its Phase 3 CELESTIAL trial. An independent data-monitoring committee recommended that Exelixis stop its CELESTIAL efficacy trial after a review of the second planned interim analysis. Cabometyx demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful progress in overall survival compared to the placebo in individuals who had already been treated for advanced HCC. Cabometyx was granted an orphan drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of individuals with advanced HCC.

Delay Phase In Enhanced MRI Increases Diagnosis Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
18 April 2018
According to a recent study, adding a 15-minute delayed phase in extracellular contrast agent (ECA)-enhanced MR imaging may improve the diagnostic performance for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Researchers assessed the findings of 103 patients with chronic liver disease who underwent ECA-enhanced MRI. The researchers concluded the inclusion of the 15-minute delayed phase in ECA-enhanced MRI may improve the diagnostic performance for HCC.

Novel Proteomics Strategies Aid Cancer Research
17 April 2018
Scientists are using novel proteomics methods to address unanswered questions in cancer research. The proteomics methods are applied to the study of protein variation within tumors; the failure of some candidate cancer drugs; and how chemotherapeutic combinations act synergistically. The researchers used laser-capture microdissection to profile protein expression in different parts of sample biopsies from patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).

Laboratory For Advanced Medicine Presents Findings On Blood-Based Test For Liver Cancer Detection And Prognosis At 2018 AACR Annual Meeting
17 April 2018
Laboratory for Advanced Medicine (LAM) is a clinical-stage medical technology company focused on developing cutting-edge technologies for the early diagnosis and intervention of cancer. At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, LAM presented data demonstrating the utility of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) methylation markers in the diagnosis, surveillance and prognosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Scientists at LAM identified HCC-specific methylation markers by comparing HCC tissue and normal blood leukocytes, and showed that the methylation profiles of HCC tumor DNA and matched plasma ctDNA are highly correlated.

Second-Line Liver Cancer Treatments Shows Positive Results In Phase 3 Study
16 April 2018
Eli Lilly reported positive results from its phase 3 REACH-2 study with ramucirumab (Cyramza). Ramucirumab is being studied as a single-agent second-line treatment for patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Investigators evaluated the benefit of treatment with ramucirumab in patients with HCC who were intolerant to, or had disease progression while on or following treatment with sorafenib and were AFP-High. Scientists observed a greater survival benefit.

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) Fails To Extend Survival In The SORAMIC Study Palliative Cohort
13 April 2018
Final Results: the SORAMIC study shows no clinical advantage to adding selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) to standard sorafenib treatment compared with using sorafenib alone. “There remains a significant unmet need for new treatment approaches in patients with unresectable HCC, and SIRT had shown promising results in previous, non-randomized studies,” said Prof. Dr Ricke, from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. The SORAMIC study was initiated in February 2010, which included a sub-study presented today of randomized 424 patients with inoperable HCC who were not candidates for transarterial chemoembolization (TACE).

Study Reports Decreasing Rates Of Liver Transplantation Among HCC Patients In The U.S.
13 April 2018
A nationwide study presented at The International Liver Congress 2018 in Paris, France, has confirmed that patients with HCC on the liver transplant list in the USA were more than 50% less likely to receive a transplant in 2014 – 2016 than they were in 2005 – 2007. Presenting these findings was Dr Jennifer Wang from the California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco. Dr. Wang stated, “This is a very worrying trend and reflects the continued imbalance between the number of patients with HCC in need of liver transplantation and the limited number of donor livers available.”

Eggplant Peels Provide Novel Treatment For Skin, Liver Cancers
12 April 2018
Phytochemical analysis was done to show that eggplant peels are rich in steroidal glycosides, in the form of glycoalkaloids. A recent study has shown that the peels of the eggplant are also effective in treating Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The study published in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis is titled “In Vitro and In Vivo Anticancer Activity of the Fruit Peels of Solanum melongena L. against Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”

Personalized T Cell Therapy Shows Signs Of Clinical Effectiveness Against HBV-Related HCC
12 April 2018
In a presentation at The International Liver Congress 2018 in Paris, France, doctors showed a positive response in a patient with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative HCC metastases in the lungs following liver transplant. Scientists used engineered T cells. Cytotoxic T cells play a key role in killing cancerous and infected cells. “This study further explores the potentially beneficial role of immunotherapy in the management of advanced HCC,” said Prof. Alejandro Forner from the Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Spain, and EASL Governing Board Member

Screening For Hepatocellular Carcinoma Likely To Be Cost Effective
12 April 2018
According to the results of a Canadian study, surveillance for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) by ultrasound is likely to be cost effective. This was conducted in patients with hepatitis C-related liver cirrhosis after they have achieved a sustained virological response (SVR) to direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs). “The results of our study challenge current clinical practice guidelines by suggesting that ultrasound surveillance is very unlikely to be cost effective in patients without cirrhosis,” said Dr. Hooman Farhang Zangneh from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Highly Sensitive Detection Of Hepatitis B Using ddPCR
12 April 2018
A new study from investigators at the Center for Gene Diagnosis in the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, China, describes a new hepatitis B virus (HBV) assay that offers advantages over currently used methods. The new assay utilizes droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), which is highly sensitive and accurate for detecting trace molecules, such as viruses. Providing an accurate and sensitive approach for closed circular DNA (cccDNA) detection is of great clinical significance for earlier diagnosis and HCC prediction.

HCC Trials Spur Treatment Landscape Forward
11 April 2018
The phase III CheckMate-459 trial in which nivolumab (Opdivo) is being compared with sorafenib (Nexavar) will continue to investigate the use of immunotherapy agents in advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The study includes patients without hepatitis B or C, and those with either hepatitis B or C. CheckMate-040 started as a simple phase I trial investigating dose escalation of nivolumab, which then led to a series of dose expansions. “CheckMate-459 has completed accrual and will likely be the next big story in HCC because it has the potential to change not only the standard of care, but the entire treatment landscape,” says R. Kate Kelley, MD.

BeiGene Initiates Global Phase 2 Trial Of Anti-PD-1 Antibody Tislelizumab In Patients With Previously Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma
10 April 2018
BeiGene, Ltd announced that the first patient was dosed in a global Phase 2 clinical trial of tislelizumab, an investigational anti-PD-1 antibody. BeiGene is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative molecularly targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of liver cancer. The Phase 2 trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tislelizumab in patients who were previously treated for unresectable HCC. Approximately 225 patients will be enrolled at approximately 75 cancer centers internationally.

Celsion (CLSN) Says DMC Completes Planned Safety And Data Review Of Its Phase III OPTIMA Study Of Thermodox In Primary Liver Cancer
9 April 2018
The independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) has unanimously recommended to continue the Phase III clinical study conducted by Celsion Corporation known as the OPTIMA Study. Celsion is currently conducting a 550-patient, multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled, study of ThermoDox® in combination with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for primary liver cancer. The DMC consists of an independent group of medical and scientific experts responsible for reviewing and evaluating patient safety and efficacy data for the company’s Phase III OPTIMA Study.

Can-Fite To Present The Anti-Inflammatory And Anti-Fibrogenic Effects Of Namodenoson In NAFLD/NASH Pre-Clinical Studies At The 2018 International Liver Congress Of The European Association For The Study Of The Liver (EASL)
9 April 2018
Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd announced its poster presentation of the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrogenic effects of Namodenosen in NAFLD/NASH animal model data at the 53rd Annual International Liver Congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) to be held on April 11 – 15, 2018. Can-Fite is a biotechnology company advancing a pipeline of proprietary small-molecule drugs that fight cancer. Can-Fite’s liver cancer drug, Namodenoson, is in Phase II trials for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).


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