Using combination therapies to treat liver cancer

Liver Cancer

Lead Researcher: Professor Geoffrey McCaughan

Institution: Centenary Institute

Cancer Council NSW Funding: $450,000

Funding Duration: 2020 – 2022


Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and it is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death in Australia. Once HCC has spread to other parts of the body, there are very few effective treatment options and the overall five-year survival rate is less than 20%. General awareness of HCC is low in Australia, however the number of cases of this devastating cancer are rising steeply. New and innovative approaches are urgently needed to treat advanced HCC and improve patient outcomes. 

The Research

Professor McCaughan’s team have developed two potential new treatments which target HCC cells, the surrounding blood vessels and the immune system within the tumour. In this project, the team will test these new therapies in combination with each other in pre-clinical models to identify the most effective way to target and kill HCC cells. 

The Impact

The project will investigate the use of combination therapies in HCC – an approach which has not yet widely investigated. By targeting several different components of the tumour the team hope to maximise the effectiveness of the drugs they have developed. Using the expertise of his team, Professor McCaughan aims to translate the results from the laboratory into clinical trials, where they hope their new treatment approach will improve outcomes for patients with HCC, especially those with a poor prognosis.


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