Annual CCF Conference Brings Together All Stakeholders

June 2023, Vol 4, No 2
Milind M. Javle, MD
Hubert L. and Olive Stringer Professor
Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX
Chair, NCI Task Force: Hepatobiliary Cancers

This issue of CCA News highlights the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF) 10th Annual Conference held in April. This meeting was chaired by Dr Chiara Branconi, a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Reader at the University of Glasgow and a medical oncologist with Beatson Cancer Centre; and Dr Laura Goff, medical director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s Hematology and Oncology Division. The focus was on emerging research and new, innovative therapies that improve patient outcomes. One of the unique aspects of these conferences has been the time investigators and clinicians can spend with patients and advocates, along with scientists and other providers. A highlight of this year’s conference was the announcement of the foundation’s first Chief Medical Officer, Juan Valle, MD, MB ChB, MSc. Dr Valle is a well-known clinician and researcher known for his work in biliary cancer worldwide. He begins his new position in August 2023.

This conference recapped the latest research in cholangiocarcinoma and quality-of-life issues, such as nutritional support. Stephanie Roit, a nutrition specialist, reviewed the current data and brought forth her own personal experiences. She recommended protein from various sources along with fruits and vegetables as tolerated while limiting the intake of ultra-processed foods. She also discussed the ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low-fiber diet with antioxidants that currently lacks clinical trial data in these patients. Dr Tim Greten described novel targets and therapies beyond chemotherapy, including agents targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts, agents targeting metabolic programing, and immunologic interventions beyond checkpoint inhibitors, including chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bispecific antibodies, agonistic checkpoint antibodies, and innovative combination strategies.

Drs Gordon Moffatt and Jennifer Knox from Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, have recently presented an insightful review of hepatocholangiocarcinoma, an uncommon disease that represents a composite of both cancer types. As they describe, this disease has genomic characteristics of both cancers, and current treatment standards are based on limited retrospective data. We hope that prospective studies of this cancer will change the treatment paradigm and offer clinical benefit as noted recently in hepatocellular cancer and cholangiocarcinoma.

Finally, I would like to conclude by quoting a caregiver who attended the conference this year: “I lost my father to this disease and certainly did not want anyone else to lose their loved ones to it,” said CCF volunteer Ambuj Srivastava. “Getting the chance to play a role in helping improve treatments for future patients means a lot to me and my father’s legacy. I’m grateful for the deep collaboration between experts, patients, and caregivers.”

Sincerely,

Milind M. Javle, MD

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