The Bili Project Official Launch Release


Contact: Sherna Stephenson

Mojo Marketing & Media

(818) 556 – 3842 [USA]



Bili Project Foundation Created to Research, Find Cure for Hepatobiliary Cancers – The Third Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths Worldwide


Initial Projects Include First Hepatobiliary Cancer Tissue Bank at USCF Medical Center

San Francisco (October 12, 2012) – Hepatobiliary cancers, those that affect the gallbladder, liver and bile ducts, are the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide based on a recent GLOBOCAN study.  But despite being some of the most lethal of cancers, they have received little notice outside of the medical community. The recently created, San Francisco-based The Bili Project Foundation is bringing this quick and silent killer into the spotlight and is committed to reducing the incidence and improve the treatment outcomes by promoting research to identify hepatobiliary cancer diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.


The Foundation’s first initiative is creating an All-Star research team from the UCSF Medical Center to lead the creation of a longitudinal, annotated hepatobiliary cancer tissue bank and database to serve as the platform for a broad range of translational science in this complex, grim, and poorly-understood family of cancers. The team 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 will significantly enhance 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 will provide 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 Bili Project Foundation was established in the memory of Vince Acquisto, who recently succumbed to bile duct cancer. The foundation was created by Vince’s wife Sue Acquisto, and Vince’s business partner, Joy Stephenson.  “If screening or testing for risk factors or silent symptoms of this type of cancer was available for Vince, perhaps he would have had a chance for successful treatment at an early stage,” said Sue Acquisto. “It is my hope to educate others about risk factors and through the tumor bank, prevent this disease from suddenly taking the life of someone’s loved one.”


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.  For more information on hepatobiliary cancer and to donate or become a “Biliever”, please visit the foundation website


About The Bili Project Foundation

The Bili Project Foundation’s mission is to reduce the incidence and improve the outcomes of hepatobiliary cancers by promoting research to identify diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in this complex and heterogeneous group of diseases.  Goals include plans to launch a new arm of gastrointestinal oncology research at UCSF by creating a tissue tumor bank to advance our understanding of detection, treatments and cures for hepatobiliary cancers.  Worldwide, they are the 3rd leading cause of cancer death based on GLOBOCON 2008 estimates and in the U.S., according to CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians (2009), hepatobiliary cancers are the 7th leading cause of cancer death.   The incidence of hepatobiliary cancers is on the rise in the United States.  Therefore, The Bili Project Foundation was created to promote and facilitate research into these diseases.  For more information on hepatobiliary cancer and how you can join in the fight and become a “Biliever”, please visit the foundation website or call 1-855-277-BILI.


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