Monthly Archive for: ‘April, 2013’

California’s First Hepatobiliary Cancer Tissue Bank Opens at UCSF Medical Center

California’s First Hepatobiliary Cancer Tissue Bank Opens at UCSF Medical Center

Begins Operations Six Months Ahead of Schedule

Key Element for Enhancing Diagnosis, Treatment of Third Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths


California’s first hepatobiliary cancer tissue bank has begun full-scale operations at the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco.  The bank is the cornerstone of The Bili Project Foundation’s ongoing work to reduce the incidence and improve the treatment outcomes promoting research to identify hepatobiliary cancer diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.   The Foundation also announced that it has secured a grant from The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation to support ongoing and expanded research in biliary tract cancers, the third leading cause of cancer death globally.


“We are gratified both by having the bank online ahead of schedule and by the fact that more than 50 patients have already provided clinical data along with blood and tissue specimens,” commented Joy Stephenson.  “This work will soon be expanded to include specimen from UCSF Fresno as well as the inclusion of data in the OnCore Clinical Trials Database to encourage and facilitate the collaboration of researchers from around the world.”


The longitudinal, annotated hepatobiliary cancer tissue bank is being led by an all-star medical team that includes Alan P. Venook, MD, a nationally renowned expert in gastrointestinal cancers. Robert Kerlan, MD, who has extensive clinical experience in the management of liver disease, including biliary disease, portal hypertension and hepatic malignancy and Robin K. (“Katie”) Kelley, MD, an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award winner and Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium ASCO Foundation Merit Award; she has been designated as project lead.


Robin K. (“Katie”) Kelley, MD, had this to say regarding the project, “The creation of a tumor tissue bank specifically for hepatobiliary tumors significantly enhances our ability to find biomarkers to accurately diagnose patients with these debilitating diseases as well as to identify active new drugs in these notoriously treatment-refractory cancer types. This bank is providing the groundwork for the development of a broad range of future projects needed to find better treatments and biomarkers in the near future, and, of course we will be working hard to find a cure with this body of research in the long run.”


The incidence of hepatobiliary cancers is on the rise in the United States and is a huge cause for concern as these cancers are notoriously difficult to diagnose, resistant to standard therapies and underfunded..