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Scientists make breakthrough in bile duct cancer with discovery of new gene mutations
Date:5/14/2012

Grand Rapids, Mich. (May 14, 2012) - A team of international scientists has made a significant breakthrough in understanding the cause of bile duct cancer, a deadly type of liver cancer. By identifying several new genes frequently mutated in bile duct cancers, researchers are paving the way for better understanding of how bile duct cancers develop. Their discovery is published online in Nature Genetics.

Bile Duct Cancer, or Cholangiocarcinoma, is a fatal cancer with a poor prognosis. Accounting for 10 to 25 per cent of all primary liver cancers worldwide, bile duct cancer is a prevalent disease in Southeast Asia, particularly in Northeast Thailand, which sees about 20,000 new cases each year. The high incidence in Thailand is attributed to long-term consumption of raw fish infected with liver flukes food-borne parasites found in fish. Liver fluke infections are widespread in Northeast Thailand, where they are thought to occur in over 6 million people. Once eaten, the flukes accumulate in the bile ducts of the human host, causing constant infection and eventually the onset of cancer.

The research team was led by Bin Tean Teh, M.D., Ph.D., Director and Principal Investigator of the NCCS-VARI Translational Cancer Research Laboratory. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and the National Cancer Center, Singapore (NCCS) established the NCCS-VARI Translational Research Program at the National Cancer Center, Singapore in 2007. The program focuses on the biology behind varying drug responses in Asian versus non-Asian patients with specific types of cancer.

The team also included Associate Professor Patrick Tan, Associate Professor Steve Rozen (both of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School of Singapore) and Professor Vajarabhongsa Bhudhisawasdi from Thailand's Khon Kaen University. The breakthrough came after two years of intensive research, which saw scientists from Singapore visiting the villagers in northern Thailand, and Thai researche
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Contact: Tim Hawkins
tim.hawkins@vai.org
616-234-5519
Van Andel Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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