Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FL-HCC) is a rare form of liver cancer that primarily affects young people. After tumor removal, most patients relapse within 3 years, so Dr. Barry is exploring if immunotherapy might help these patients. Unlike some cancers, FL-HCC is genetically stable and has few mutations to target, but almost all FL-HCC patients have the abnormal fusion protein DNAJB1-PRKACA, caused by a specific mutation in chromosome 19. After exploring how this fusion protein contributes to cancer development and immune system interactions, he’ll see how current immunotherapies work against FL-HCC in the lab, and compare those findings to samples from patients with FL-HCC as well as the more common HCC. Those insights may then suggest more effective approaches for patients in the clinic.
The support given to me by the Cancer Research Institute . . . will allow me to undertake preclinical studies on a rare cancer that strikes young and otherwise healthy patients. I hope my work will open the door to treating fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma patients as well as provide broad discoveries in immunotherapy that will help increase its efficacy in other cancers.
Projects and Grants
Interrogation of immune responses to fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma
University of California, San Francisco | Childhood Cancer, Liver Cancer | 2016 | Matthew F. Krummel, Ph.D.
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