Team:CPU CHINA/HP/Gold Integrated

Why do we apply HCC ?
Our business plan!
Our communication with a cancer patient!

An interview with a doctor

Date: May 24th,2018

When choosing the disease to apply our project, we initially decided to target at liver cancer. In order to understand current treatment of liver cancer, we interviewed Director Zhou Guoping of Jiangsu Cancer Hospital. Director Zhou Guoping has decades of clinical experience in the treatment of liver cancer. He introduced us to the situation of liver cancer in China, the characteristics of liver cancer and treatment methods. The interview excerpt is as following.

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Q:We understand that most patients with liver cancer are already in the advanced stage when they are diagnosed. Is it true in your experience? Does this mean that most patients with liver cancer are difficult to cure and they have been sentenced to death?
A: The incidence of liver cancer has always been very high in our country, especially in men. Because of the high incidence of hepatitis B in China, the incidence of liver cancer is relatively high. Liver cancer in China has a lot to do with hepatitis B. When someone is diagnosed with liver cancer, the mortality rate is really high. It is rare for the patients to be diagnosed with small tumor which means the diameter of the tumor is less than 3cm. The survival rate of patients with small tumor generally is quite high. However, they are often diagnosed at the middle or advanced stages. The cancer can bring many other problems, such as ascites, jaundice, etc. which causes difficulties in treatment. At present, the best treatment for liver cancer is surgery, but most people can not undergo the surgery.

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Q:What kind of treatment is currently used in clinical practice?
A: Because most patients lose their chance of surgery, and the recurrence rate of this kind of cancer is really high. At present, chemotherapy is commonly used. The chemotherapy efficiency of liver cancer in the past is very poor. In the last two years, it was slightly improved due to technology improvement. In addition there are embolization treatment and targeted therapy, such as sorafenib. However, according to the score system we use now, in fact, the use of sorafenib in the advanced stage have barely any effects, like a comfort treatment. However, sorafenib is still the drug of first choice for advanced treatment.

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Q:What are the characteristics of liver cancer compared to other cancers?
A: Liver cancer cells are active and invasive, and there are rich sinusoids surround them. So the liver cancer cells can easily invade the capsule and blood vessels, resulting in easy local spread of the tumor, bloody metastasis. To a certain extent, for the liver is the main metabolic organ, the impaired liver function affects metabolism greatly. The side effects of taking medicine can be greater than others.

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Q:What do you think of gene therapy for liver cancer? Is it promising for our RNAi strategy to be applied?
A:There is no mature gene therapy for liver cancer till now. However, we still need new treatment methods for liver cancer. If you have done quite well in your experiments, it will be really promising. The high specificity could reduce the side effects greatly, which is very significant.

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In this interview, Director Zhou help us to understand the difficulties and features of the treatment in liver cancer. Then he expressed his expectation to our project. He said that clinically, advanced liver cancer lacks more effective targeted drugs. Although the traditional therapy has been improving, but it does not turn out well. He strongly encourages us to try to apply our ideas in the treatment of liver cancer.

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Figure1. A photo of our team members with Zhou Guoping