Grants and Contracts Details


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. HCC incidence is increasing dramatically in the United States, which is due primarily to HCV infection, excessive alcohol intake, and obesity-associated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Because obesity continues to increase in the United States (particularly in Kentucky, which already has high obesity levels), there is heightened concern about the relationship between HCC and NAFLD. One challenge is the paucity of effective anti-HCC drugs. One approach that has been used with modest success is the injection of ethanol directly into liver tumors to kill cancer cells, although one problem with this strategy is inefficient distribution of ethanol from the needle tip throughout the tumor. Thus, new and more effective means of anti-HCC therapy are needed. In this regard, Drs. Spear and Gedaly have been working to develop novel anti-cancer drugs that block the beta-catenin signaling pathway, which is frequently activated in HCC. Recently, we have been in discussions with Twin Star Medical, a Minnesota-based company that is coming to Lexington. Twin Star has developed a novel micro-porous catheter for the drug infusion into a precise location. We have agreed to work with Twin Star to use this device for the direct infusion of ethanol into liver tumors. We propose to perform studies to evaluate the distribution of materials in normal liver and liver tumors using a rat model system. We will also perform pilot studies by ethanol infusion into rat liver tumors using standard needles and the micro-porous catheter. Future studies will also investigate the direct injection of anti-cancer drugs using this device. These studies will help improve the health of Kentuckians, promote the medical devices industry in our Commonwealth, and provide the framework for future funding opportunities.
Effective start/end date7/1/1412/31/15


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $29,996.00


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