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February 1, 2023

February is Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Facts

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ in the abdomen, below the liver. It collects and stores bile, a fluid made by the liver to aid with digestion of fats. The bile ducts are thin tube-like vessels that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. 

  • Bile duct and gallbladder cancer are rare malignancies but very serious.  
  • Both cancers develop in organs deep in the body, making early detection difficult.   
  • Gall bladder and bile duct cancers are more common in people over the age of 65, with a slightly higher male predilection.  
  • Symptoms of bile duct and gall bladder cancer may include: jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, lumps in the belly (gallbladder cancer). Other patients may be asymptomatic.  
  • Lowering risk of bile duct and gall bladder cancer: maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, diet rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetable, limiting alcohol consumption, hepatitis B vaccination (bile duct cancer). 
  • Treatment may include: surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation or a combination of these options.

Sources: City of Hope, Mount Sinai 

February Cancer Research Highlights:
Basic Research is Focus of ICRF-Funded Scientists

Basic laboratory research uncovers the molecular biological events that lead to cancer. Although fundamental research may not offer an immediate cure, it is imperative to furthering our understanding of cancer and it is the stepping stone to treatments and cures. Without basic research there is no clinical research. Below is information on the investigations of four ICRF scientists who are using basic research techniques to ultimately uncover novel therapies for cancer:

Ehud Herbst, PhD

Ehud Herbst, PhD

Weizmann Institute of Science
ICRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipient

Dan Levy, PhD

Dan Levy, PhD
Ben-Gurion University
ICRF Project Grant Recipient

Benjamin Berman

Benjamin Berman, PhD
Hebrew University
ICRF Project Grant Recipient

Gil Ast, PhD

Gil Ast, PhD
Tel Aviv University
ICRF Project Grant Recipient

Research on DNA Methylation Leads to Blood Test to Detect Cancers

ICRF spoke to Howard Cedar, MD, PhD, and Yuval Dor, PhD, of the Hebrew University Medical School, about their pioneering work in DNA methylation, a molecular process that turns genes on and off, and the recent development of a blood test for the early detection of cancer, which is based on this research. Professor Cedar is the recipient of numerous awards for his pioneering discoveries, including the Israel Prize in Biology and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. He has the distinction of being ICRF’s first Research Professorship Grant recipient, the most prestigious ICRF grant category, and has been supported continuously by ICRF since 1987. 

Professor Dor, a previously funded ICRF grantee who was the recipient of the first Barbara S. Goodman Endowed Research Career Development Award in Pancreatic Cancer, spent many years working in Professor Cedar’s lab. He applied the findings in DNA methylation, and developed a breakthrough blood test for the early detection of cancer. The test examines DNA in blood and is capable of detecting more than 30 different kinds of cancer, even before there are clinical symptoms.

Help End the Suffering Caused By Cancer

The answer to cancer is research. Support groundbreaking cancer research in Israel today: