KFI 640: Cedars-Sinai Gets $9.1 Million Federal Grant for Liver Cancer Study
KFI 640 AM recently covered the news that Cedars-Sinai was awarded a $9.1 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to study how fat may promote cancer’s spread to the liver.
“There is evidence that having fat in the liver promotes primary cancer there,” said Shelly Lu, MD, director of the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at Cedars-Sinai and co-lead author of the study.
This is especially true for pancreatic and colon cancers because, according to researchers, the liver is the primary organ of metastasis for these diseases. The liver also plays a role in other cancers because of its function – which is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract, detoxify chemicals, metabolize drugs and excrete bile.
Neil Bhowmick, MD, director of the Cancer Biology Program at Cedars-Sinai and co-lead author of the study, suggests the majority of patients that die of pancreatic, colon or prostate cancer develop liver metastases at the time of death.
With this grant, researchers will focus on the interplay between dietary fat and fatty liver disease, which is commonly associated with obesity, and the mechanisms that allow cancer to spread to the liver. Working collectively on four separate projects, researchers will study how signaling, or “crosstalk” between the liver and cancer in a distant organ alters the liver environment to allow cancer to spread and thrive there.
The research comes at a critical time, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 71% of U.S. adults ages 20 and older are overweight or obese. And, about 90% of obese people have a fatty liver.
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