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Medicine

New study to give insight into liver cancer

Published: 5 October 2018
New liver cancer study
Southampton scientists are taking part in international study to advance research in liver cancer

Scientists at the University of Southampton are taking part in an international study to advance research for one of the most lethal cancers.

Liver cancer – predominantly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – is one of the only cancers with a mortality rate which is increasing. Traditionally it is difficult to study as most patients present with symptoms that are at a late stage.

The Southampton team have become part of a network of centres across the UK, which includes Glasgow, London, Cambridge, Birmingham and Newcastle and research institutions in Spain and Italy, that will collect tissue samples. The large network will allow more samples to be collected than ever before.

The study is funded by a Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award and aims to understand the immunogenomic HCC microenvironment and investigate what switches it off and allows cancer to progress. The study will also examine why some people respond better to immunotherapy treatments.

The Southampton team will be led by Salim Khakoo Professor of Hepatology and Prof Marcel Utz from Chemistry. The Medicine team will investigate the potential of NK cell therapy for HCC while Profess Utz will use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyse the biochemical signatures of HCC.  

Professor Khakoo said: “We are very proud to be part if this international collaboration that aims to advance the neglected field of hepatocellular carcinoma.”

It is the first time this type of programme is being carried out for liver cancer patients.

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