Emerging evidence suggests that obesity is a major contributor to cancer development, especially in a form of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In HCC the liver’s immune homeostasis becomes imbalanced, resulting in chronic inflammation that favors tumor growth. However, we still don’t know how the liver maintains normal homeostasis or how obesity disrupts it. Using animal models of HCC, Dr. Zhong aims to identify key players that orchestrate liver immune homeostasis. He’ll also characterize how these key immune players are dysregulated and thereby create a chronic inflammatory environment that favors tumor growth and progression. This work could yield important mechanistic insights about how obesity promotes cancer development, which will pave the way for developing new immunotherapeutic strategies to prevent and/or treat cancer at early stages.
Projects and Grants
Identification of key immune homeostatic regulators that control obesity-induced liver inflammation and disease
University of California, San Diego | Liver Cancer | 2014 | Michael Karin, Ph.D.
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