According to the American Cancer Society, about 28,000 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer this year and at the same time, about 20,000 other patients will die of that same cancer. Both of those numbers have been increasing at a steady rate for decades now, and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.
But the researchers at the @UofR Wilmot Cancer Research Center have recently discovered an entirely new way to analyze the formation of liver cancer, which typically happens in an area of the liver known as the bile ducts. Bile is a substance produced by the liver that is essential to the digestion of food, and obviously, the ducts carry that bile out of the liver.
Researchers working in conjunction with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found a way to genetically engineer mice to produce what is thought to be the most common vector for developing cancer of the liver, known by the charmingly-accessible name Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC). This allows the researchers to reproduce the same results over and over again to observe how it functions, and also to apply therapies to it to see what can be prevented.