Why latest work from top UK cancer researchers could hold potential for future ‘game-changing’ treatments for rare bile duct cancer, cholangiocarcinoma


prThe incidence of bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is increasing year on year throughout the world. More than 2,500 people will be diagnosed with this cancer in the UK in the next year and for most this will be a lethal diagnosis. Fewer than 5% will survive for 12 months – an appalling statistic which hasn’t changed in decades.

In light of this, UK’s leading charity dedicated to bile duct cancer, AMMF, will bring together scientists, researchers, medics and patients from across the globe at its third Conference and Information Day dedicated exclusively to bile duct cancer, on 11 May, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Stansted Airport, Essex.

Amongst AMMF-funded researchers who will be presenting updates on their work at this year’s AMMF Conference, will be Professor Stuart Forbes from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, explaining his research into the signals Wnt and Notch which are thought to drive the growth of cholangiocarcinoma. In addition, Dr Luke Boulter from Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine will be discussing his very promising work, “Discovering driver mutations in cholangiocarcinoma using forward genetics”.

The work of both these teams, if successful, could bring closer some ‘game changing’ treatment targets for cholangiocarcinoma.

This year’s Conference also sees Professor Narong Khuntikeo from Khon Kaen University, Thailand presenting the work of the CASCAP (Cholangiocarcinoma Screening and Care Program) team in north east Thailand, which has the world’s highest incidence of cholangiocarcinoma. Professor Khuntikeo is vice-president of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation of Thailand and recipient of The Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand Outstanding Surgeon Honours Award 2016.

Conference to highlight latest surgical treatments and targeted therapies for bile duct cancer

Other topics to be addressed at this year’s Conference will include the latest surgical developments in the treatment of bile duct cancer, updates on clinical trials, and the status of targeted therapies for cholangiocarcinoma.

Helen Morement, founder and CEO of the AMMF explains, “Although bile duct cancer is the second most common primary liver cancer in the world, with an increasing incidence globally, and despite its appalling survival rates due to late diagnosis and few treatment options, it remains poorly understood and under researched. The Conference is a key platform for an international panel of experts to share news and information about clinical studies and latest research. The findings bring the prospect of early diagnosis and more effective treatments one step closer.”

Helen continues, “We are especially delighted that Professor Richard Syms from Imperial College London, who is also working collaboratively with the team at Khon Kaen University on an AMMF-funded internal imaging project, will be presenting the positive early results of this work at the Conference.”

Bile duct cancer is a rare cancer that occurs in the bile duct in or outside the liver. With few noticeable and often misunderstood symptoms, this disease is frequently diagnosed too late for surgery, the only potentially curative treatment. Without treatment fewer than 5% of patients will survive beyond 12 months. Cases of bile duct cancer have risen steeply and steadily across the world over the past decades. According to the recent NCIN/Cancer52 report, 2,161 people died in 2013 from this disease in England alone.



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