Fibrolamellar Carcinoma, a Liver Cancer
Fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC) is a rare type of liver cancer that affects primarily young adults. A highly aggressive disease, it is prone to spreading rapidly throughout the body. Currently no effective treatment exists. There is a vital need to uncover the molecular causes of the disease in order to develop new therapies. With this grant from the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, Praveen Sethupathy, Biomedical Sciences, is working to tackle the problem.
A class of biomolecules called non-coding RNAs have emerged as critical regulators of tumor initiation, progression, and maintenance in a wide variety of cancers. The Sethupathy lab is interrogating the role of two specific non-coding RNAs that contributes to the aggressive nature of FLC. The hope is that the results of these studies will lead to the development of biomolecules that directly target these non-coding RNAs and reverse the course of the disease.
Sethupathy’s team is also investigating how the FLC tumor cell becomes addicted to a certain cellular state and what factors drive this addiction. The goal is to break the addiction by targeting these drivers, first in cellular and animal models of the disease and eventually in patients.
The project is highly collaborative and includes partnerships with other labs at Cornell and beyond—Duke University, University of Washington, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.