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Spotlighting Disparities in Pediatric Liver Cancer Treatment

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics by Dr. David Hills-Dunlap revealed that sociodemographic factors significantly influence the surgical management of liver cancers, specifically hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hills-Dunlap hopes that increased awareness from studies like his will lead to improved access to necessary surgeries for pediatric patients from underserved populations – and an equal chance at health through comprehensive care.

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OU Health Performs Oklahoma’s First Liver Transplant Surgery to Treat Lethal Form of Cancer

Oklahoma University Health (OU Health) has successfully performed its first liver transplant for cholangiocarcinoma, a particularly challenging and deadly form of liver cancer. The patient underwent a complex regimen of chemotherapy and radiation before the transplant. This groundbreaking procedure is the first of its kind in the state, allowing Oklahomans to receive treatment for hilar cholangiocarcinoma without traveling out-of-state. OU Health is one of the few programs in the U.S. capable of performing this procedure, which offers a higher chance of success and long-term survival than other treatments.



New Tool Could Spot Liver Cancer Early, Upping Survival

A new AI-driven blood test has been developed to improve the detection of liver cancer. Currently, up to 60% of liver cancers are not diagnosed until advanced stages, with a survival rate of just 20%. The test identifies “fusion genes,” which are two genes that have bounded together to produce proteins that can lead to cancer. The fusion gene machine-learning model significantly enhances the early detection rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared to the serum alpha-fetal protein test alone. The test may become an essential tool in screening for HCC by identifying at-risk patients who are likely to develop the disease.

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For overlooked cholangiocarcinoma patients, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Rare cancers, such as cholangiocarcinoma, are often overlooked due to their low incidence and poor prognosis. Dr. Supriya “Shoop” Saha, a former principal investigator and clinician in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch Cancer Center, established one of the first labs dedicated to studying cholangiocarcinoma. His research focuses on a specific subtype of cholangiocarcinoma characterized by mutations in an enzyme crucial for central carbon metabolism. The team’s ongoing work aims to understand this enzyme’s role in the complex web of molecular interactions and to develop new combination therapy. Their goal is to bring this therapy ‘from the bench to the bedside’ for patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, whose disease has been largely overlooked until now.



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