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Wilmot researchers create new way to study liver cancer
Date:3/7/2012

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center have made significant strides in the study of a primary cancer of the liver Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC), also called biliary tract cancer. Their work has been published online and in print editions of Cancer Research, the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world.

Aram Hezel, M.D., an assistant professor of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine at URMC, is the corresponding author of the study that examined the role of genes commonly mutated in human cancers and their role in the growth of Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma, a form of bile duct cancer.

Hezel and fellow researchers from URMC and Massachusetts General Hospital /Harvard Medical School succeeded in developing the first genetically engineered mouse model of IHCC that they hope will provide a valuable, new tool in further research of this disease. A mouse model is important to researchers as it enables them to test dozens or even hundreds of potential treatments in mice in a short span of time, accelerating the discovery process.

The model Hezel and his team created incorporates two of the most common mutations in humans activating mutations of Kras and deletion of p53 oncogenes. An oncogene is a modified gene that increases the malignancy of a tumor cell. Some oncogenes, usually involved in early stages of cancer development, increase the chance that a normal cell develops into a tumor cell, possibly resulting in cancer.

"This is a new model of a less common liver tumor that we have not yet had good ways to study," Hezel said. This represents the first good model that can be used as a tool to try to better understand this disease."

Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma is a primary cancer of the liver. It is thought to arise from the bile ducts, a series of branching tubes within the liver that deliver bile (which is produced by the liver) to the gallb
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Contact: Michael Tedesco
michael_tedesco@urmc.rochester.edu
585-276-5788
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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