The Gut Cancer Foundation is delighted to announce the award of $35,000 Dr Cositha Santhakumar for her study into the role of the tumour microenvironment and its implication as a therapeutic target in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Every year over 360 New Zealanders are diagnosed with liver cancer, with significantly higher incidences reported in Maori, Pacifica and Asian populations. Unfortunately, outcomes remain poor with just 15% of liver cancer patients expected to survive beyond 5 years.

Hepatocellular carcinoma’s (HCC’s) account for 90% of all primary liver cancers. It is believed that the environment in which HCC’s develop has an effect on the biology of the tumour. The study aims to better understand this environment with novel imaging techniques, and determine the role of targeting various components of this environment with immune directed therapies. Dr Santhakumar aims to identify which patients will benefit most from these therapies resulting in tailored patient care and better outcomes.

Click here for a detailed overview of the research project.

GCF is grateful to the Sir Ernest Davis Estate proudly managed by Perpetual Guardian as sole trustee of his charitable trust, for their support of this research.