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

ladder and small intestine. Bile breaks down fats found in foods and also helps the body get rid of waste material filtered out of the bloodstream by the liver.

The disease is diagnosed in approximately 6,000 people per year, and its occurrence is rising at a rate that makes it among the fastest growing liver cancers, for reasons scientists have not yet been able to pinpoint. Some suspect that it may be due to doctors having better tests to diagnose this type of cancer more accurately. The tumors are typically very aggressive and highly prone to metastasis at an early stage, leading to poor prognosis. To date, many aspects of IHCC's biology and genetic makeup, as well as its cells of origin, have eluded scientists.

The model provides a relevant foundation for further understanding of the earliest, precancerous stages of IHCC, a better understanding of the tumor biology, and for evaluating effective treatments. The group has found that chloroquine - a drug commonly used to treat malaria has been effective in treating IHCC in the mouse model.

"We've not yet had good ways to study these mutations and their effects on the biliary system in humans," Hezel stated. "Among the problems with understanding this cancer is trying to get a handle on where these tumors come from and what steps lead up to them. We tend not to have lots of biopsies of the liver. Effective screening tests for other cancers provide samples that can be studied and provide an indication of where that cancer is coming from; that's not the case with this form of cancer. We've been able to make genetic changes as seen in humans and place it in a mouse model. By studying mice, we think we can learn what cells the disease comes from. We hope we have provided step upward towards a better view of the disease, both for ourselves and for others studying it."


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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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