Topic: Hope on the Horizon
I've asked permission to share an email that came to me from Dr. Alphonse Sirica. I had asked him to send us a brief update that could outline some of the "hope on the horizon" for cholangiocarcinoma.
Thank you for your e-mail. First let me say that I am sorry to hear of the passing of another one of your members. Cholangiocarcinoma is such a devastating disease and it is frustrating that our progress towards understanding this cancer's pathogenesis, as well as in developing new therapies is still limited. However, I am also confident that through our research and that of others, we will be turning a corner.
As I previously indicated to you, I am currently in the process of organizing a national level meeting on cholangiocarcinoma, which we are planning to hold in December, 2007 or January, 2008.The title of this Conference is "Cholangiocarcinoma: Molecular Pathogenesis, Diagnostics, and Mutidisciplinary Management". My Program Committee is composed of some of the top physician- scientists in the world who are researching cholangiocarcinoma. This conference is a first of its kind, and we intend to cover critical areas related to cholangiocarcinoma molecular pathogenesis, advances in cholangiocarcinoma detection, current and emerging new treatments for advanced cholangiocarcinoma, molecular-based therapies, and a variety of other areas relevant to advancing our understanding of the disease and in developing novel treatment strategies aimed at greatly improving patient survival. As part of this Conference, I hope to also include a 2 hour afternoon session devoted to patient advocacy. As I indicated to you in a previous e-mail, I would be very pleased if you would be willing to present at this Forum, detailing your wonderful work in organizing Cholangiocarcinoma.org. I will be providing you with additional details as the Conference program is developed, hopefully by August, 2006.
Currently, we are pursuing a number of new areas of research, including developing a novel preclinical animal model of metastasizing intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, which recapitulates many of the cellular and molecular features of the human advanced disease. We are hoping to develop this model as an in vivo preclinical platform for testing new molecular-based therapies alone and in combination with other treatment modalities currently in use or to be developed. In addition, we are exploring new molecular targets and I will soon be submitting for publication some interesting data on profiling human cholangiocarcinoma sub-types for molecular therapeutic targets.
The competitive renewal of one of my long-standing National Cancer Institute grants is being reviewed in June, and hopefully will be approved for continued funding so that we can explore some new reasarch based on increasing our understanding of the role played by microenvironment on cholangiocarcinoma invasion and metastasis.
Although I wish I had more to share with you, particularly on progress being made on new treatments, I can only state at this time that with the increasing interest being shown towards cholangiocarcinoma research, as well as efforts by youself and other advocates, that future hopes for new and effective therapies are increasing and I personally remain both encouraged and motivated.
I hope that my response also gives you encouragement. All of us in the cholangiocarcinoma research fields are serious about our work and we will continue in our efforts to hopefully make a difference that will benefit patients and their families struggling with this terrible disease.
With warm regards,
Professor and Chair
Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathogenesis
Medical College of Virginia Campus of
Virginia Commonwealth University